National Health Survey of Gulf War Veterans and Their Families - VA Cooperative Studies Program (CSP)
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VA Cooperative Studies Program (CSP)

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National Health Survey of Gulf War Veterans and Their Families

Main study:
National Health Survey of Gulf War Veterans and Their Families (also known as Longitudinal Health Study of Gulf War Era Veterans)

Follow-up study: 
Follow-up Study of Gulf War and Gulf Era Veterans
 
Main study website
Follow-up study website

Data Availability 

Pending

Objectives

To assess periodically the health status of a cohort of 1991 Gulf War Veterans by comparing mental and physical health outcomes with those of their military peers who were not deployed to the Gulf

Era of Service

Gulf War Era

Population

  • Deployed and nondeployed Gulf War Era Veterans from each branch of the military, Active duty, Reserve, and National Guard members
  • The sample included male and female Veterans who served in the military between September 1990 and May 1991

Study Design 

Longitudinal population-based cohort study

Time Period 

  • 1995 baseline survey 
  • Follow-up surveys conducted in 2005 and 2012-2013

Setting

National

1995: 11,441
2005: 9,970
2012-2013: 14,252

Response Rate

1995: Information pending
2005: 34%
2012-2013: 50%

Recruitment Method

The Department of Defense (DoD) Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) provided military and demographic information for 693,826 Veterans deployed to the Gulf War and 800,680 Veterans who were on duty between September 1990 and May 1991 but not deployed to the Gulf.  A stratified random sample of 15,000 deployed Gulf War Veterans and 15,000 Gulf Era Veterans served as the permanent panel. For each phase, a questionnaire package was mailed to all living panel members, inviting them to complete the survey and followed up with reminder postcards. Computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) calls were made to Veterans who had not responded.

Compensation

$10

Data Collected

Data collected on sociodemographic information and a range of health topics such as:

  • Chronic medical conditions (e.g., neurological conditions, cancer, autoimmune conditions, respiratory conditions, and gastrointestinal disorders)
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome-like illness and unexplained multi-symptom illness
  • Mental health (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder, depression)
  • Health behaviors (e.g., alcohol and tobacco use, exercise)
  • General health
  • Functional health
  • Women’s health
  • Complementary and alternative medicine use
  • VA health care utilization and satisfaction

Data Collection Method

Structured questionnaire completed by mail, Computer Aided Technology (CATI), or online

Funding Source

Department of Veterans Affairs

Contact 

Pending

Selected Publications 

1995 Baseline Survey:
Kang HK, Mahan CM, Lee KY, Magee CA, Murphy FM. Physical and Mental Health Status of Gulf War and Gulf Era Veterans: Results From a Large Population-Based Epidemiological Study. J Occup Environ Med. 2000 May;42(5):491-501.

Kang HK, Natelson BH, Mahan CM, Lee KY, Murphy FM. Post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic fatigue syndrome-like illness among Gulf War Veterans: A population based survey of 30,000 Veterans. Am J Epidemiol 2003;157:141–148.

2005 Survey:
Kang HK, Li B, Mahan CM, Eisen SA, Engel CC. Health of U.S. Veterans of 1991 Gulf War: A follow-up survey in 10 years. J Occup Environ Med 2009;51:401-410.

Li B, Mahan CM, Kang HK, Eisen SA, Engel CC. Longitudinal health study of U.S. 1991 Gulf War Veterans: Changes in health status at 10-year follow-up. Am J Epidemiol 2011.

2012-2013 Survey:
Dursa EK, Barth SK, Schneiderman AI, Bossarte RM. Physical and mental health status of Gulf War and Gulf era Veterans: Results from a large population-based epidemiological study. J Occup Environ Med 2016; 58: 41-46.

Dursa EK, Barth SK, Schneiderman AI, Bossarte RM.  Physical and mental health status of Gulf War and Gulf Era Veterans: Results from a large population-based epidemiological study. [Reply to letter of Coughlin S]. J Occup Environ Med 2016; 58: e187.

More Information 

Main study website
Follow-up study website