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The psychological costs of war: Military combat and mental health

Author

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  • Cesur, Resul
  • Sabia, Joseph J.
  • Tekin, Erdal

Abstract

We exploit plausibly exogenous variation in overseas deployment assignment to estimate the effect of combat exposure on psychological well-being. Controlling for pre-deployment mental health, we find that active-duty soldiers deployed to combat zones are more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than their counterparts deployed outside the United States in non-combat zones. Among those deployed to combat zones, those deployed to locales where they engage in enemy firefight or witness allied or civilian deaths are at an increased risk for suicidal ideation and PTSD relative to their active-duty counterparts deployed to combat zones without enemy firefight.

Suggested Citation

  • Cesur, Resul & Sabia, Joseph J. & Tekin, Erdal, 2013. "The psychological costs of war: Military combat and mental health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 51-65.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:32:y:2013:i:1:p:51-65
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2012.09.001
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    Cited by:

    1. Cesur, Resul & Sabia, Joseph J. & Tekin, Erdal, 2015. "Combat exposure and migraine headache: Evidence from exogenous deployment assignment," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 81-99.
    2. Bratti, Massimiliano & Mendola, Mariapia & Miranda, Alfonso, 2015. "Hard to Forget: The Long-Lasting Impact of War on Mental Health," IZA Discussion Papers 9269, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. D. Mark Anderson & Resul Cesur & Erdal Tekin, 2015. "Youth Depression And Future Criminal Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(1), pages 294-317, January.
    4. Deborah Cobb-Clark & Erdal Tekin, 2014. "Fathers and youths’ delinquent behavior," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 327-358, June.
    5. Johnston, David W. & Shields, Michael A. & Siminski, Peter, 2016. "Long-term health effects of Vietnam-era military service: A quasi-experiment using Australian conscription lotteries," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 12-26.
    6. Bruno Frey, 2012. "Well-being and war," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 59(4), pages 363-375, December.
    7. Cesur, Resul & Sabia, Joseph J. & Tekin, Erdal, 2013. "The psychological costs of war: Military combat and mental health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 51-65.
    8. Olga Shemyakina & Anke Plagnol, 2013. "Subjective Well-Being and Armed Conflict: Evidence from Bosnia-Herzegovina," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 113(3), pages 1129-1152, September.
    9. Jason M. Lindo & Charles Stoecker, 2014. "Drawn Into Violence: Evidence On “What Makes A Criminal” From The Vietnam Draft Lotteries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 239-258, January.
    10. Resul Cesur & Alexander Chesney & Joseph J. Sabia, 2016. "Combat Exposure, Cigarette Consumption, And Substance Use," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(3), pages 1705-1726, July.
    11. Ryan D. Edwards, 2012. "Overseas Deployment, Combat Exposure, and Well-Being in the 2010 National Survey of Veterans," NBER Working Papers 18227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Brighita Negrusa & Sebastian Negrusa, 2014. "Home Front: Post-Deployment Mental Health and Divorces," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(3), pages 895-916, June.
    13. Ryan D. Edwards, 2015. "Overseas Deployment, Combat Exposure, and Well-Being in the 2010 National Survey of Veterans," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 64-93.
    14. Swee, Eik Leong, 2015. "On war intensity and schooling attainment: The case of Bosnia and Herzegovina," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PA), pages 158-172.
    15. Tsai, Alexander C. & Venkataramani, Atheendar S., 2015. "Communal bereavement and resilience in the aftermath of a terrorist event: Evidence from a natural experiment," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 155-163.
    16. Sebastian Negrusa & Brighita Negrusa & James Hosek, 2014. "Gone to war: have deployments increased divorces?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(2), pages 473-496, April.
    17. Lyk-Jensen, Stéphanie Vincent & Weatherall, Cecilie Dohlmann & Jepsen, Peter Winning, 2016. "The effect of military deployment on mental health," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 193-208.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Military combat; Depression; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Suicide;

    JEL classification:

    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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