Reported stressors and health care needs of active duty Navy personnel during three phases of deployment in support of the war in Iraq

Mil Med. 2005 Jun;170(6):530-5. doi: 10.7205/milmed.170.6.530.


Literature has generously documented the stress of military members and their families during deployments in noncombat periods. Deployment has been shown to increase the needs of family members for health care, both physical and psychological. The purpose of this study was to describe the health care needs and perceived stressors of active duty members deployed to Iraq during the predeployment, mid-deployment, and postdeployment phases. Active duty Navy service members deployed on three aircraft carriers during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2002-2003 were randomly selected to participate in an anonymous study that evaluated member well-being, adaptation, coping, anxiety, stress, and health care needs during three phases of deployment. Data were obtained from 474 Navy members in predeployment, 445 in mid-deployment, and 276 in postdeployment. Logistic regression analyses indicated that many variables predicted extreme anxiety during deployment, including mid-deployment phase, age of under 25 years, being childless, nonattendance at church, being enlisted, zero- or one-deployment history; no high school education, and being currently in counseling. Active duty members in all phases of deployment had equally disturbing levels of anxiety. All phases reported suicidal ideation at alarming rates (2.4% in predeployment, 4.9% in mid-deployment, and 3% in postdeployment). This study sheds new light on the stressors and subsequent health care needs of active duty members on carriers during war and provides valuable information for the prevention of high-risk anxieties and subsequent health risks for all service members during similar deployments.

MeSH terms

  • Afghanistan
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Iraq
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Psychology, Military / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Time Factors
  • Warfare