Influence of childhood adversity on health among male UK military personnel.

Iversen, AC; Fear, NT; Simonoff, E; Hull, L; Horn, O; Greenberg, N; Hotopf, M; Rona, R; Wessely, S; (2007) Influence of childhood adversity on health among male UK military personnel. The British journal of psychiatry, 191. pp. 506-11. ISSN 0007-1250 DOI:

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BACKGROUND: Exposure to childhood adversity may explain why only a minority of combatants exposed to trauma develop psychological problems. AIMS: To examine the association between self-reported childhood vulnerability and later health outcomes in a large randomly selected male military cohort. METHOD: Data are derived from the first stage of a cohort study comparing Iraq veterans and non-deployed UK military personnel. We describe data collected by questionnaire from males in the regular UK armed forces (n=7937). RESULTS: Pre-enlistment vulnerability is associated with being single, of lower rank, having low educational attainment and serving in the Army. Pre-enlistment vulnerability is associated with a variety of negative health outcomes. Two main factors emerge as important predictors of ill health: a ;family relationships' factor reflecting the home environment and an ;externalising behaviour' factor reflecting behavioural disturbance. CONCLUSIONS: Pre-enlistment vulnerability is an important individual risk factor for ill health in military men. Awareness of such factors is important in understanding post-combat psychiatric disorder.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Non-Communicable Disease Epidemiology
PubMed ID: 18055954
Web of Science ID: 251872400007


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