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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.

Table of Contents

  • Preface

  • Figures

  • Tables

  • Summary

  • Acknowledgements


  • Glossary

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Stress and Health: Definitions and Concepts

  • Chapter Three

    Stress Exposure in the Persian Gulf War

  • Chapter Four

    Non-Gulf War Scientific Literature Linking Stress to Health Problems

  • Chapter Five

    Gulf War Scientific Literature Linking Stress to Health Problems

  • Chapter Six

    Findings and Conclusions

  • Appendix

    Empirical Research Concerning Stress and Both PTSD and Other (Non-PTSD) Health Problems

  • References

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

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