WEDNESDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) --Mental health issues
confronted by U.S. veterans returning from the ongoing conflicts in
Iraq and Afghanistan differ by gender, new research suggests.
Female veterans are more likely to have a diagnosis of
depression than are their male counterparts, according to a study
of nearly 330,000 veterans who received health care from the
Veterans Administration from 2002 to 2008. They are also generally
younger than their male counterparts and more likely to be
In contrast, male veterans were found to be more prone than
their female peers to post-traumatic stress disorder and/or alcohol
The analysis was led by study author Shira Maguen of the San
Francisco VA Medical Center. She and her colleagues reviewed data
on more than 329,000 veterans of "Operation Enduring Freedom" and
"Operation Iraqi Freedom" obtained from the U.S. Department of
"In an era in which a greater proportion of women have served in the U.S. military in a much wider variety of military occupational specialties than ever before, our results contribute to a better understanding of the characteristics of women seeking VA health care," the study team noted in a news release.
The authors also said it was important to understand how
differences between men and women might affect mental health
outcomes. "Gender differences are important to consider as the
Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense continue to expand and
strengthen programs to evaluate and provide care for a new
generation of returning veterans," they added.
Maguen and her colleagues report their observations in the Oct.
21 online issue of the
American Journal of Public Health.
For more on veterans and mental health, visit the
U.S. National Institutes of Health.
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