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Prevalence of Somatic and Psychiatric Disorders Among Former Prisoners of War
Raina E. Eberly; Brian E. Engdahl
Psychiatric Services 1991; doi:
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The authors thank Matthew McGue and several anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper.

Psychology Service of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (116B), 1 Veterans Drive, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55417, The Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis

1991 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

American former prisoners of war (POWs) are an aging group who seek health care with increasing frequency. To examine the prevalence of long-term physical and emotional consequences of captivity in this population, the authors analyzed medical and psychiatric examination data for 426 former POWs. Detailed psychiatric diagnostic criteria were used to assess the POWs' mental health. Compared with general population groups, POWs had moderately elevated lifetime prevalence rates of depressive disorders and greatly elevated rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), although their rates of hypertension, diabetes, myocardial infarction, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and alcoholism were not elevated. POWs who lost more than 35 percent of their body weight during captivity had higher rates of anxiety disorder, depressive disorders, PTSD, and schizophrenia, compared with other POWs.

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