In this retrospective analysis of gender-specific differences among
veterans with serious mental illness, the clinical characteristics and
health service utilization of 57 women and 114 men were compared. Women had
fewer comorbid psychiatric illnesses than men, and substance use disorders
were the most frequent comorbid psychiatric illness for both genders.
Unlike nonveteran samples with serious mental illness, the veterans in this
study showed no gender differences in hospital length of stay. Atypical
antipsychotics, used for only suboptimally responsive illness in the study
group, were prescribed for 50 percent of women with primary psychosis,
compared with 15.3 percent of men with primary psychosis. The results
suggest that psychosis among women veterans is more severe or refractory
than that among men veterans.