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Mon, Mar 10

Reported High Rates of Military Mental Illness Are Wrong and Dangerous

By Duke Professor Emeritus Allen Frances.

The headline reads, “Study: Mental illness rate higher in soldiers.”

The article goes on to offer alarming statistics:

The rate of major depression is five times as high among soldiers as civilians; intermittent explosive disorder, which results in episodes of extreme anger, is six times as high; and post-traumatic stress disorder was nearly 15 times higher than among civilians, the study found.

This would be pretty scary if true — but it isn’t. Psychiatric epidemiology is done in a way that leads to systematic bias and inflated rates of reported psychiatric disorder. And there has also been systematic carelessness in how the results are misleadingly reported by the researchers and then passed on by the media. Read more.