Background Some questionnaire studies have shown increased mental health problems, including probable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in soldiers deployed to Iraq. Aims To test prospectively whether such problems change over time and whether questionnaires provide accurate estimates of deployment-related PTSD compared with a clinical interview. Methods Dutch infantry troops from three cohorts completed questionnaires before deployment to Iraq (n=479), and about 5 months (n=382, 80%) and 15 months (n=331, 69%) thereafter. Posttraumatic stress disorder was evaluated by questionnaire and clinical interview. Results There were no group changes for general distress symptoms. The rates of PTSD for each cohort were 21, 4 and 6% based on questionnaires at 5 months. The deployment-related rates of PTSD based on the clinical interview were 4,3 and 3%. Conclusions There was a specific effect of deployment on mental health for a small minority Questionnaires eliciting stress symptoms gave substantial overestimations of the rate of PTSD.
Engelhard, I. M., van den Hout, M. A., Weerts, J., Arntz, A. R., Hox, J. C. M., & McNally, R. (2007). Deployment-related stress and trauma in Dutch soldiers returning from Iraq: Prospective study. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 191(2), 140-145. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.106.034884