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The Psychological Costs of War: Military Combat and Mental Health

  • Cesur, Resul

    ()

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Sabia, Joseph J.

    ()

    (San Diego State University)

  • Tekin, Erdal

    ()

    (American University)

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.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp5615.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5615.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Health Economics, 2013, 32 (1), 51-65
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5615
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  1. David S. Lyle, 2006. "Using Military Deployments and Job Assignments to Estimate the Effect of Parental Absences and Household Relocations on Children's Academic Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 319-350, April.
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  7. Susan L. Ettner & Richard G. Frank & Ronald C. Kessler, 1997. "The Impact of Psychiatric Disorders on Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 5989, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Erdal Tekin & Naci Mocan & Lan Liang, 2009. "Do Adolescents with Emotional or Behavioral Problems Respond to Cigarette Prices?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 67-85, July.
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  12. 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.
  13. Sabia, Joseph J. & Rees, Daniel I., 2008. "The effect of adolescent virginity status on psychological well-being," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1368-1381, September.
  14. Meredith A. Kleykamp, 2006. "College, Jobs, or the Military? Enlistment During a Time of War," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 87(2), pages 272-290.
  15. Jason M. Fletcher, 2010. "Adolescent depression and educational attainment: results using sibling fixed effects," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(7), pages 855-871.
  16. Yu-Chu Shen & Jeremy Arkes & Boon Wah Kwan & Lai Yee Tan & Thomas V. Williams, 2009. "The Effect of OEF/OIF Deployment Intensity on the Rate of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Active Duty Population," NBER Working Papers 15203, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Glen H. Elder & Lin Wang & Naomi J. Spence & Daniel E. Adkins & Tyson H. Brown, 2010. "Pathways to the All-Volunteer Military," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 91(2), pages 455-475.
  18. Susan L. Ettner & Richard G. Frank & Ronald C. Kessler, 1997. "The Impact of psychiatric disorders on labor market outcomes," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(1), pages 64-81, October.
  19. Pinka Chatterji & Alison Cuellar, 2006. "How Do Youth with Mental Disorders Fare in the Juvenile Justice System?," NBER Working Papers 12437, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Engel, Rozlyn C. & Gallagher, Luke B. & Lyle, David S., 2010. "Military deployments and children's academic achievement: Evidence from Department of Defense Education Activity Schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 73-82, February.
  21. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan & David S. Lyle, 2011. "Battle Scars? The Puzzling Decline in Employment and Rise in Disability Receipt among Vietnam Era Veterans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 339-44, May.
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