Lower health related quality of life in U.S. military personnel is associated with service-related disorders and inflammation

Jessica Gill, Hyunhwa Lee, Taura Barr, Tristin Baxter, Morgan Heinzelmann, Hannah Rak, Vincent Mysliwiec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Military personnel who have combat exposures are at increased risk for the service-related disorders of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, sleep disturbances and decreased health related quality of life (HRQOL). Those with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are at even greater risk. Inflammation is associated with these disorders and may underlie the risk for health declines. We evaluated 110 recently deployed, military personnel presenting with sleep disturbances for service-related disorders (TBI, PTSD, and depression) as well as HRQOL. ANOVA models were used to examine differences among military personnel with two or more service-related disorders (high comorbid group), or one or no disorders (low comorbid group). Logistic regression models were used to determine associations among interleukin-6 (IL-6) to HRQOL and service-related disorders. Approximately one-third of the sample had two or more service-related disorders. HRQOL was lower and IL-6 concentrations were higher in military personnel with PTSD or depression, with the most profound differences in those with more service-related disorders, regardless of sleep disorder. Having symptoms of depression and PTSD resulted in a 3.5-fold risk to be in the lower quartile of HRQOL and the highest quartile of IL-6. In a linear regression model, 41% of the relationship between HRQOL and IL-6 concentrations was mediated by PTSD and depression. Military personnel with PTSD and depression are at high risk for lower HRQOL, and higher IL-6 concentrations. Comprehensive treatment is required to address co-occurring service-related disorders in military personnel to promote health and well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-122
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 30 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • IL-6
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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