Australian Gulf War Veterans' Follow Up Health Study
15 January 2021
The Australian Gulf War Veterans’ Follow Up Health Study 2015 (Follow Up Study) is a follow up to the original Australian Gulf War Veterans’ Health Study 2003 (the 2003 study), also commissioned by DVA, to assess Gulf War veterans’ health and wellbeing 20 years after deployment. The Follow Up Study is a longitudinal cohort study conducted from 2010 to 2015. It compares the physical, psychological and social health and military related exposures of Australian Defence Force veterans of the First Gulf War against a military comparison group and the 2003 study. A mortality and cancer study component of the Follow Up Study involved the entire Gulf War and military comparison groups, comprising a total of 4,793 people At follow up Gulf War veterans were found to be resilient. They were likely to have accessed disability and health services, which may suggest that the Gulf War cohort is seeking help when they need it. At follow up there was a reduction in smoking, with one half of those who reported being a smoker in the 2003 study no longer smoking. The Follow Up Study found Gulf War veteran participants were more likely than the military comparison group to suffer from a number of conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder, alcohol disorder, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic multisymptom illness. There were no statistically significant differences in cancer and mortality rates between Gulf War veterans and the military comparison group.