Proctor SP, Harley R, Wolfe J, Heeren T, White RF.
Environmental Hazards Center, National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare
System, Boston, MA, USA.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this investigation is to describe the health-related quality of life of Persian Gulf War (GW) veterans and to examine the effects of current chronic medical conditions and psychiatric status on physical functioning.
METHODS: To measure health-related quality of life, the Medical Outcomes Short Form Survey (SF36) was administered approximately 4 years after the GW to a stratified, random sample of New England-area GW-deployed veterans and a group of military personnel deployed to Germany during the GW. The SF36 scores for the GW-deployed study population (N = 141) were compared with those for the Germany-deployed group (N = 46) and with published U.S. population norms. Multiple linear regression analyses were performed to identify risk factors associated with lower physical health functioning in the GW-deployed study group.
RESULTS: Functional health status was significantly lower in the GW-deployed group compared with the Germany-deployed group for each of the SF36 subscales and the two summary scores (Physical Component Summary [PCS] and Mental Component Summary). Compared with the general U.S. population, the GW-deployed group median was between the 25th and 50th percentile for the Physical Functioning subscale and the PCS score. Within the GW-deployed group, lower education, psychological symptomatology, and a higher number of chronic self-reported medical conditions were significant predictors of the PCS score.
CONCLUSION: GW-deployed veterans report lower functional health status compared with a group of Germany-deployed veterans and published general U.S. population norms. Within the group of GW-deployed veterans, several current medical and psychological conditions predictive of lower physical functioning levels were identified.
PMID: 11413729 [PubMed - in process]