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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3182135973
Original Articles: CME Available for this Article at ACOEM.org

Coping With the Impact of Working in a Conflict Zone: A Comparative Study of Diplomatic Staff

Hibberd, Jessamy M. DClinPsy; Greenberg, Neil MD

Continued Medical Education
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Abstract

Objectives: Diplomats as a result of their work in conflict zones are “at risk” of exposure to intense psychological stressors. This study investigated the mental and physical health of diplomats working in a war zone.

Methods: The study used a comparative retrospective cohort design. Mental and physical health outcomes were compared for two groups of United Kingdom diplomats: those who had completed postings in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, and those deployed overseas to nonhardship posts.

Results: Diplomats posted to Iraq and Afghanistan and individuals who experienced trauma had significantly more symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. There were no significant differences between the groups in levels of general psychiatric morbidity, fatigue, and alcohol misuse.

Conclusions: Although personnel who went to war zones or suffered trauma were more psychologically symptomatic, the increased burden of symptoms was not associated with frank illness.

©2011The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

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