Help-seeking in Vietnam veterans: post-traumatic stress disorder and other predictors

Aust N Z J Public Health. 1997 Apr;21(2):211-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-842x.1997.tb01685.x.


This study investigated factors predicting help-seeking from the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) by Vietnam veterans. Data used were from a national Australian survey of Vietnam veterans' health (n = 641) conducted between July 1990 and April 1993. The survey involved current clinical assessments and retrospective questionnaires, supplemented with health and service records retrieved from the DVA and Army personnel files. Measures included the 1989-90 Australian Bureau of Statistics Health Survey questionnaire, and mental health, sociodemographic and operational deployment history questionnaires. For both current and lifetime diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder, a third of the veterans with the disorder had never obtained any health care entitlement from the DVA. Other than physical and mental problems, which accounted for the greatest proportion of the help-seeking odds, significant factors predicting help-seeking included factors such as: predeployment personality, combat exposure, the veterans' own attitudes towards their deployment, experiences during deployment, experiences during repatriation and membership of ex-service organisations. These findings on how post-traumatic stress disorder and other health problems relate to help-seeking patterns could help in developing prevention and care programs for stress disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Veterans / psychology*
  • Vietnam