Health status of Vietnam veterans. I. Psychosocial characteristics. The Centers for Disease Control Vietnam Experience Study

JAMA. 1988 May 13;259(18):2701-7.


The Vietnam Experience Study was a multidimensional assessment of the health of Vietnam veterans. From a random sample of enlisted men who entered the US Army from 1965 to 1971, 7924 Vietnam and 7364 non-Vietnam veterans participated in a telephone interview; a random subsample of 2490 Vietnam and 1972 non-Vietnam veterans also underwent a comprehensive health examination, including a psychological evaluation. At the time of the study, the two groups of veterans were similar in terms of level of education, employment, income, marital status, and satisfaction with personal relationships. Certain psychological problems, however, were significantly more prevalent among Vietnam veterans than among non-Vietnam veterans. These included depression (4.5% of Vietnam veterans vs 2.3% of non-Vietnam veterans), anxiety (4.9% vs 3.2%), and alcohol abuse or dependence (13.7% vs 9.2%). About 15% of Vietnam veterans experienced combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder at some time during or after military service, and 2.2% had the disorder during the month before the examination.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Psychological Tests / methods
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • United States
  • Veterans / psychology*
  • Vietnam