Female Veterans of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom: Status and Future Directions

  • Rivera J
  • Johnson A
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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The number of female veterans has increased four-fold over the past 20 years, yet the study of specific care for female veterans is lacking. Given our military's growing number of female veterans, this article aims to review historical and recent knowledge as well as define research priorities for treatment of the unique physical and mental health issues experienced by women who have served in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. METHODS: A literature review was performed of publications spanning the Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, and Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom periods to determine what health issues persist among female veterans. RESULTS: Female veterans historically report more reproductive and gynecological problems than the general population. They also potentially experience higher incidences of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression compared to male veterans, and overall exhibit a higher prevalence of several mental health disorders compared to the general population. CONCLUSIONS: The study of military trauma outcomes and treatments for female veterans as a distinct population continues to be lacking despite evidence that female veterans experience substantial disability from gynecological and mental health issues. Policy guiding attention to female veterans' health issues is needed.

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Authors

  • Jessica C. Rivera

  • Anthony E. Johnson

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