Objective: Environmental exposure concerns are associated with adverse health outcomes in soldiers deployed to South West Asia. There is little data on factors associated with the reporting of exposure concerns. We explored the relationship between deployment-related preparedness/support and exposure concerns.
Methods: Retrospective chart review of 489 Afghanistan/Iraq veterans evaluated at a Veterans Affairs tertiary center for postdeployment health.
Results: Virtually all subjects were concerned about environmental exposure(s). There were no significant demographic differences in exposure concerns, preparedness/support variables, or both. Preparedness/support correlated inversely with exposure concerns. Mental health function mediated the relationship between preparedness/support and exposure concerns.
Conclusions: Deployment-related preparedness/support is associated with exposure concerns and mental health functioning. Definitive studies will provide data and insight on how the military may better prepare/support soldiers to optimize their resilience and reduce deployment-related exposure concerns.