August 27, 2012: By the Numbers

August 27, 2012: By the Numbers


The percentage of "U.S. military deployers" to Iraq and Afghanistan that is female, according to an article in the July 2012 issue of the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report, a publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center. The article -- Health of women after wartime deployments: correlates of risk for selected medical conditions among females after initial and repeat deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, active component, U.S. Armed Forces -- notes that, in total, women comprise about one-seventh (14%) of the U.S. military's "active component."

According to the article, women deployed in health care occupations were more likely to be diagnosed with mental disorders, especially PTSD and sleep disorders.

The finding likely reflects the unique and unrelenting psychological stresses inherent to the delivery of health care during war – as well perhaps decreased barriers to and stigmas associated with seeking mental health care and better access to mental health services by health care workers after deployments.

The report recommends shortening the duration of wartime deployments to nine months or less, but the researchers found that neither the number of deployments nor the length of "dwell time" between deployments had much affect on "post-deployment morbidity."