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Deployment with combat exposure increases the risk of new-onset PTSD

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Does military deployment and combat exposure increase risk of new onset post-traumatic stress disorder?


50 184 (65% of total) participants of the US military millennium cohort who had participated in the first follow up at 3 years (between June 2004 and February 2006). Participants were active duty and Reserve/National Guard personnel. “Deployers” were those who had served in support of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan for ⩾1 day between baseline and follow-up. “Non-deployers” were those who had not served at any time before follow up. Exclusions: people already deployed at baseline, or first deployed at follow-up.


Military population, USA; recruitment between July 2001 and June 2003.

Risk factors:

Deployment; self-reported exposure to combat; witnessed physical abuse; witnessed a person’s death due to war, disaster or tragic event; seeing dead or decomposing bodies; maimed soldiers or civilians, refugees or prisoners of war.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) assessed by the standardised civilian checklist. Sensitive definition of PTSD …

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  • Source of funding: Department of Defense.


  • Competing interests: CL has served as a consultant to the US Army.