Steven Stellman - Social and behavioral consequences of the Vietnam experience among American Legionnaires

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      Stellman, J. M., Stellman, S. D., Sommer, J. F., Jr. 47  (2) 129-49-

      Abstract: One aspect of a cross-sectional   questionnaire study of a sample of Vietnam veterans belonging to   The American Legion was devoted to analysis of social and   behavioral consequences of service in Southeast Asia. Members of   the study population were stratified by whether they served in   Southeast Asia and, within the Southeast Asia group, by varying   degrees of exposure to combat and to herbicides. Using validated   scales for behavioral affect and for the exposure measures for   combat and herbicides, a wide range of adverse effects was   observed. Men who faced high levels of combat intensity were   found to be at greater risk for divorce and for generally being   less happy and satisfied with their lives, their marriages, their   role as fathers, and as sexual human beings. Although in this   population they have reached comparatively high levels of   education, they earn significantly less money than peers of their   same age and educational attainment. Vietnam veterans returning   from combat were found to exhibit higher levels of behavioral   disturbances, with mean scores for depression, anxiety,   irritation, feelings of helplessness, and physical signs of   depression significantly worse than noncombat peers. The   lifestyle of combat veterans also continues to place them at   greater risk for poor health. They smoke, drink, and use   prescription drugs at rates significantly greater than the other   veterans in this study. Combat veterans have had a significantly   poorer rate of reduction and cessation of smoking and drinking   than others in this population. Evidence is also presented which   shows that for some of the behavioral outcomes measured, a   negative interactive effect of concurrent exposure to herbicides   is present.

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