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S04-6 Panel discussion and summing-up: opportunities for epidemiology in studying the transition from military to civilian life
  1. Simon Wessely1,
  2. Malcolm Sim2,
  3. Beverly Bergman3,
  4. Carl Castro4,
  5. Deirdre MacManus1,
  6. Cherie Armour5,
  7. Katherine Venables6,
  8. Nicola Fear1
  1. 1Kings College, London, UK
  2. 2Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  3. 3University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  4. 4University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA
  5. 5University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK
  6. 6University of Oxford, Oxford, UK


Many myths have grown up surrounding the figure of the military veteran within the civilian population. But military service is an occupation, like many others, with strong health selection and a specific cluster of physical, chemical, biological, and psychosocial risks, which may have long-term effects. Well-designed epidemiology should create opportunities to explore the factors associated with health in the transition back to civilian life.

Chaired by Simon Wessely, this section of the minisymposium will discuss some of the issues in undertaking epidemiological studies in this topical and important area. For example:

  • Identifying veteran populations is an easier task in some countries than in others.

  • Military service entails a specific and diverse cluster of physical, chemical, biological, and psychosocial risks which may, or may not, be well documented. In particular, exposures during combat may be poorly documented.

  • Military populations are strongly selected, particularly in countries without conscription, and the effects of pre-service lifestyle and environmental factors may continue after the return to civilian life.

This panel discussion will sum up the issues raised by both the minisymposium speakers and also the participants on the floor.

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