Effects of repeated deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan on the health of New Jersey Army National Guard troops: implications for military readiness

Am J Public Health. 2010 Feb;100(2):276-83. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.162925. Epub 2009 Dec 17.


Objectives: We assessed the effects of prior military service in Iraq or Afghanistan on the health of New Jersey Army National Guard members preparing for deployment to Iraq.

Methods: We analyzed anonymous, self-administered predeployment surveys from 2543 National Guard members deployed to Iraq in 2008. We used bivariate and multivariate analyses to measure the effects of prior service in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom [OEF]) or Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom [OIF]) on mental and physical health.

Results: Nearly 25% of respondents reported at least 1 previous OEF or OIF deployment. Previously deployed soldiers were more than 3 times as likely as soldiers with no previous deployments to screen positive for posttraumatic stress disorder (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=3.69; 95% confidence interval [CI]=2.59, 5.24) and major depression (AOR=3.07; 95% CI=1.81, 5.19), more than twice as likely to report chronic pain (AOR=2.20; 95% CI=1.78, 2.72) and more than 90% more likely to score below the general population norm on physical functioning (AOR=1.94; 95% CI=1.51, 2.48).

Conclusions: Repeated OEF and OIF deployments may adversely affect the military readiness of New Jersey National Guard combat soldiers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Afghan Campaign 2001-
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chronic Disease
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Iraq War, 2003-2011
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel* / psychology
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • New Jersey / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Work Capacity Evaluation