04.16.09, 08:00 PM EDT
Risk highest for those with low mental and physical scores, study says
FRIDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) — Military personnel who have poor mental or physical health before they go into combat are more likely to experience post-traumatic stress disorder following their battlefield experience, a U.S. military study finds.
The study of 5,410 personnel found that 395 of them — 7.3 percent — had a diagnosis or symptoms of PTSD after fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to the report in the April 17 online edition of BMJ.
More than half of the cases of PTSD occurred in those with the lowest health scores on a questionnaire they filled out
between 2001 and 2003, the report said. The incidence of PTSD in the group was assessed by a second questionnaire completed between 2004 and 2006, after combat experience.
The data came from the Millenium Cohort Study, a long-running study of the health of American military personnel.
The result is not surprising, said Keith A. Young, vice chair for research at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, who has done work on PTSD.