Cover: A Review of the Scientific Literature As It Pertains to Gulf War Illnesses

A Review of the Scientific Literature As It Pertains to Gulf War Illnesses

Volume 4: Stress

Published 2000

by Grant N. Marshall, Lois M. Davis, Cathy D. Sherbourne


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A significant proportion of U.S. military personnel who served in the Persian Gulf War have reported various health problems following their service, some of which remain unexplained. The conflict presented these veterans with an array of stressful experiences both before, during, and after deployment, and those experiences may have contributed to their reported health difficulties. Research recorded in the general scientific literature has shown that stress can produce myriad health effects, and that these effects can manifest themselves as symptoms and conditions similar to those that the veterans report. Empirical studies of Gulf War veterans indicate that stress may play some role in the etiology or exacerbation of certain of these health problems, yet available research does not conclusively demonstrate the causal role of stress in the unexplained illnesses.

This research was sponsored by the RAND National Security Research Division and RAND Health.

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