Prevalence of somatic and psychiatric disorder among former prisoners of war

R. E. Eberly, B. E. Engdahl

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64 Scopus citations


American former prisoners of war (POWs) are an aging group who seek health care with increasing frequency. To examine the prevalence of long-term physical and emotional consequences of captivity in this population, the authors analyzed medical and psychiatric examination data for 426 former POWs. Detailed psychiatric diagnostic criteria were used to assess the POWs' mental health. Compared with general population groups, POWs had more moderately elevated lifetime prevalence rates of depressive disorders and greatly elevated rates of posttraumatic disorder (PTSD), although their rates of hypertension, diabetes, myocardial infarction, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and alcoholism were not elevated. POWs who lost more than 35% of their body weight during captivity had higher rates of anxiety disorder, depressive disorders, PTSD, and schizophrenia, compared with other POWs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)807-813
Number of pages7
JournalHospital and Community Psychiatry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991


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