This paper details a panel discussion exploring the military veteran within the civilian population.
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 discussed 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 summed up the issues raised by both the minisymposium speakers and also the participants on the floor.
Wessely, S., Sim, M., Bergman, B., Castro, C., MacManus, D., Armour, C., Venables, K. and Fear, N., 2016. Panel Discussion and Summing-Up: Opportunities for Epidemiology in Studying the Transition from Military to Civilian Life. Occupational Health: Think Globally, Act Locally (EPICOH 2016), Barcelona: Spain. pp. A101.1-A101.