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The Psychological Costs of War: Military Combat and Mental Health

Resul Cesur (), Joseph J. Sabia () and Erdal Tekin ()
Additional contact information
Joseph J. Sabia: San Diego State University

No 5615, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: While descriptive evidence suggests that deployment in the Global War on Terrorism is associated with adverse mental health, the causal effect of combat is not well established. Using data drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we exploit exogenous variation in deployment assignment and find that soldiers deployed to combat zones where they engage in frequent enemy firefight or witness allied or civilian deaths are at substantially increased risk for suicidal ideation, psychological counseling, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Our estimates imply lower-bound health care costs of $1.5 to $2.7 billion for combat-induced PTSD.

Keywords: military service; post-traumatic stress disorder; depression (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H56 I1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 48 pages
Date: 2011-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (11) Track citations by RSS feed

Published in: Journal of Health Economics, 2013, 32 (1), 51-65

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Related works:
Journal Article: The psychological costs of war: Military combat and mental health (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: The Psychological Costs of War: Military Combat and Mental Health (2011) Downloads
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