Serum dioxin and psychological functioning in U.S. Air Force veterans of the Vietnam War

Drue H. Barrett, Robert D. Morris, William G. Jackson, Joel E. Michalek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory, we assessed the psychological functioning of U.S. Air Force veterans exposed to Agent Orange and its contaminant, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlodibenzo-p-dioxin (dioxin), during the Vietnam War. Index subjects were veterans of Operation Ranch Hand (N = 1,109). Comparisons (N = 1,493) were U.S. Air Force veterans not involved with spraying herbicides. We found few consistent psychological abnormalities associated with serum dioxin levels. Ranch Hand veterans with higher dioxin levels showed some difficulties in anxiety, somatization, depression, and a denial of psychological factors. However, those with background levels also showed indications of emotional distress, primarily in emotional numbing and lability; a guarded, suspicious, and withdrawn style of relating to others; and unusual thoughts or behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
JournalMilitary medicine
Volume168
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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