The challenges experienced by Iranian war veterans living with chemical warfare poisoning: a descriptive, exploratory study

Scand J Caring Sci. 2010 Jun;24(2):290-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2009.00719.x. Epub 2010 Mar 8.


This exploratory, descriptive study investigates the experiences of Iranian war veterans living with chronic disease acquired as a result of chemical warfare. Sulphur mustard (SM) is considered one of the most important agents of chemical warfare and was widely used during the Iran-Iraq conflict in 1980-1988. There are approximately 100 000 Iranian SM casualties who suffer from serious long-term progressive health problems involving their respiratory organs, eyes and skin. Seventeen male Iranian war veterans aged between 30 and 59 years and four victims' family members participated in the study. Data was generated during individual in-depth interviews that used open-ended questions. Grounded theory techniques, including the constant comparative method of concurrent data generation and analysis, were employed in the analysis of data. Preliminary results indicate two main thematic categories: social isolation and physical disability. It is argued that a lack of knowledge about the outcomes of SM poisoning, physical restrictions and difficulty in adjusting socially decreases war veterans' functional capacity and levels of independence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chemical Warfare Agents / poisoning*
  • Disabled Persons
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poisoning / psychology
  • Social Isolation
  • Veterans / psychology*


  • Chemical Warfare Agents