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Post-deployment injury among new combat veterans enrolled in Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare
  1. Kathleen F Carlson1,2,
  2. Amy A Gravely3,
  3. Siamak Noorbaloochi3,4,
  4. Alisha Baines Simon3,
  5. Ann K Bangerter3,
  6. Nina A Sayer3,4,5
  1. 1Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Mental and Physical Disorders, Portland VA Medical Center, Portland, Oregon, USA
  2. 2Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA
  3. 3Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research, Minneapolis VA Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  4. 4Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  5. 5Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kathleen F Carlson, Portland Center for the Study of Chronic, Comorbid Mental and Physical Disorders, Portland VA Medical Center (R&D-66), 3710 SW US Veterans Hospital Road, Portland, OR 97239, USA; kathleen.carlson{at}


The purpose of this study was to examine prevalence and potential risk factors for post-deployment injury among Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans enrolled in Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare. A national, stratified sample of Iraq/Afghanistan combat Veteran VA users was surveyed in 2008. Mental and physical health, including medically-treated injuries sustained since deployment, were self-reported. Injury risk was estimated using survey logistic regression. Stratified ORs and 95% CIs were adjusted for potential confounders and non-response bias and weighted to represent the target population. Nearly half the population reported post-deployment injuries. In multivariate models, veterans with probable post-traumatic stress disorder (OR=2.1; 95% CI 1.3 to 3.5), self-reported diagnosed depression (OR=3.6; 95% CI 1.8 to 7.0) and anger problems (OR=2.4; 95% CI 1.4 to 4.2) had greater odds of post-deployment injury. Deployment-related injuries were also strongly associated with odds of post-deployment injury. Results suggest that mental health disorders increase the odds of post-deployment injury among combat veteran VA users. Longitudinal research examining these associations is warranted.

  • Anger
  • combat
  • depression
  • injury
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Veterans
  • behavioral
  • occupational
  • psychological
  • public health

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  • Funding This research was supported by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Veterans Health Administration, Health Services Research and Development Service grants (RRP 07-315; TPP 67-005; CDA 08-025). The findings and conclusions of this manuscript are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the VA.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval The Minneapolis VA Medical Center Subcommittee on Human Studies reviewed and approved all aspects of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.