Gender differences in mental health diagnoses among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans enrolled in veterans affairs health care

Am J Public Health. 2010 Dec;100(12):2450-6. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.166165. Epub 2010 Oct 21.


Objectives: We examined gender differences in sociodemographic, military service, and mental health characteristics among Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) veterans. We evaluated associations between these sociodemographic and service characteristics and depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnoses.

Methods: In a retrospective, cross-sectional study, we used univariate descriptive statistics and log binominal regression analyses of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administrative data on 329 049 OEF and OIF veterans seeking VA health care from April 1, 2002, through March 31, 2008.

Results: Female veterans were younger and more likely to be Black and to receive depression diagnoses than were male veterans, who were more frequently diagnosed with PTSD and alcohol use disorders. Older age was associated with a higher prevalence of PTSD and depression diagnoses among women but not among men.

Conclusions: Consideration of gender differences among OEF and OIF veterans seeking health care at the VA will facilitate more targeted prevention and treatment services for these newly returning veterans.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afghan Campaign 2001-*
  • Age Factors
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / diagnosis*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / ethnology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iraq War, 2003-2011*
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / ethnology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Veterans / psychology*