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Results of logistic regression not shown provide another perspective regarding factors associated with making the military a career. By contrast, higher levels of perceived stress in Vietnam were related to a decreased likelihood of completing at least 20 years of military service. Average scores on the sexual harassment scale ranged from 5.
In addition, the civilian women who served in Vietnam reported experiencing sexual harassment more often than the military women see Table 3. Rank and reported experiences of women in Vietnam, by military status and length of military service. Mean scores on the exposure to casualties scale ranged from Career military women were more likely to report their community as supportive, both when they first returned from Vietnam and in , than were civilian and short-term military women. Research Question 2: What factors are associated with psychological well-being and physical health among these groups of women?
The regression results in Table 4 show associations between demographic and military characteristics, warzone experiences, homecoming, and family support and the outcome measures of general health, physical health, mental health, and PTSD symptoms. Research Question 3: How do women who served in Vietnam compare to an age-matched sample of civilian women GSS who had not served in Vietnam on marriage and family factors?
Both the military and civilian women who served in Vietnam were more likely to have never married and not had children than the age-matched sample of women in the general population, regardless of length of service. Career military women were happier than women in the general population Our study, while perhaps not the first to review the deployment experiences and long-term outcomes of women who served in Vietnam nonetheless does break some new ground.
To our knowledge, this is the first study a to describe the experiences of civilian women deployed to a warzone and to compare them to those of military women; b to differentiate the experiences and outcomes among military women by the length of their military career service; c to contextualize the general health and happiness, marital characteristics, and childbearing patterns of women deployed to Vietnam and those of their peers by comparing them to a contemporaneous nationally representative age-matched cohort GSS.
The findings are consistent with other studies. For example, others have reported higher levels of PTSD symptoms and poorer physical and mental health outcomes to be significantly associated with adverse factors like sexual harassment, work stress, perceived stressful environment, greater exposure to casualties, and perception of less community and family support e. In the current sample, both exposure to stressors and their effects were modified by length of service. Exposures e. Career military women reported the least severe PTSD symptoms, less overall stress and work-related stress while serving in Vietnam, and the lowest exposure to sexual harassment of any group.
They reported the highest levels of family and community support upon returning from Vietnam, and continued to report the highest levels of perceived community support in , at the time of the survey. This is not surprising, given then existent policies with regard to childbearing and pregnancy in the service.
Prior to , policy dictated that pregnant women be immediately discharged, meaning that women seeking a career in the military could not simultaneously start a family. It is difficult to assess the directionality of the long-term health effects of warzone stressors and career military service. Were the wartime experiences for the higher ranking, older career women significantly different from those of the much more junior veterans, or did the personal and social factors that predisposed women to a long-term military career also lead to having lower perceptions of stress derived from similar dangerous military environments?
My patients…. Daily work was stressful due to the nature of their mutilated bodies and alertness to the horrors of war. A continuous stream of severely wounded young men — the feeling that there was never enough time to really provide adequate nursing care.
It is important to remember that although older, higher-ranking women did have statistically significantly less exposure to casualties, they still had quite meaningful exposures. Perhaps women with more years of military service prior to the Vietnam War, who would have had needed fewer years of service to reach full retirement benefits, were motivated to continue to pursue their military careers for reasons essentially unrelated to their experiences in Vietnam? Deployment to Vietnam for both military and civilian women also had many positive aspects.
Responses to the open-ended questions in our other analyses showed that many women reported satisfaction from their work with the wounded in Vietnam. I have never felt more useful or needed or appreciated. Being able to contribute to enhanced nursing practice in a provincial Vietnamese hospital! In many ways the women who served in Vietnam appear to have been distinctive.
Even those who served in civilian capacities for relatively short periods of time were markedly different from their GSS peers. Both military and civilian women who served in Vietnam were less likely to marry or have children than the women surveyed in the GSS. We can speculate that women who volunteered and went to Vietnam in the s may have done so as a way of breaking away from the traditional roles assigned to women in the United States during that time, and they seem to have continued on a different trajectory in post-war years.
The deployed civilian women, a unique group and unstudied population captured by this study, were similar demographically e. Some experiences were also dissimilar from their military counterparts: civilian women in Vietnam reported less exposure to casualties and more sexual harassment. It appears that civilian women who volunteered to serve in Vietnam not only pursued a unique undertaking as young women, but continued to lead different lives, with regards to marriage and family, while still reporting positive health and well-being.
Given that career military women experienced a life quite different from that of women who served for shorter periods of time before returning to civilian life or, as in the case of the GSS cohort we used as a civilian comparison, never served , it is worth examining the impact that this choice had on their quality of their later lives. After adjusting for covariates, career military women reported better average physical and mental health in compared to short-term, middle-term, and civilian women. This is confirmed by our finding that career military women identified themselves as happier on several dimensions than both the other cohorts in our survey and the 50—59 year old women from the GSS cohort.
These results suggest that a military career, despite being a non-traditional career path for women at the time and one that precluded a more normative family and personal life, afforded women with a meaningful experience that continued to positively impact their emotional well-being even decades after the war.
Women today have different and greater opportunities to participate in the U. Even taking into account the negative aspects of military service, our study underscores the benefits of a military career for those women who chose it, and the importance of learning from the lessons of the Vietnam War to improve the experiences and well-being of current and future generations of female military personnel.
When queried about their experiences during deployment, 96 percent of the respondents provided a positive answer.
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The fulfilling and challenging aspects of deployment and service should not be lost when considering approaches to reducing risks and enhancing health and well-being of women who serve in the U. Our finding that a perceived lack of community support negatively impacts PTSD symptomology as has been previously observed in male American Legionnaires who served in Vietnam in Stellman et al. Our finding that sexual harassment and other measures of stress in Vietnam were predictors both of worse mental health overall and worse PTSD symptomology specifically, is consistent with the literature linking stressful warzone experiences and negative mental health outcomes over time for both women and men Magruder et al.
As previously noted, even high-ranking women were subjected to sexual harassment during their military service, and sexual harassment was an ever-present stressor that all women were at risk for experiencing. The cross-sectional nature of our data limits our ability to draw causal inferences. It is worth noting that the survey was completed in , which has advantages and disadvantages. An obvious disadvantage is that it is possible that some of the reported adverse outcomes may have been ameliorated in the intervening years. For our effects to disappear, such diminution would have had to occur in a dose-related fashion.
In addition, there is the potential for recall bias to have influenced report of wartime experiences, given the negative societal views about Vietnam in the U. However, this likelihood is minimized for several reasons: the majority of variables examined e. Our studies of consistency of combat recall in male American Legionnaires did not find meaningful error in recollection and reporting Koenen, Stellman, Dohrenwend, Sommer and Stellman, Regarding possible advantages, the data were collected at a time much closer to the events than would a current study asking participants to retrospectively report on experiences in Vietnam, and thereby possibly decreasing accuracy.
In any case, since the survey was completed approximately 25 years after their service in Vietnam, the data provide a valuable view of their experiences with aging, and open a window into their appraisals — or reappraisals — of their Vietnam experience from the vantage of mid-life and beyond.
It should be noted that the and GSS women were not queried as to military status, so that the GSS cohort may have included some women who served in Vietnam. Thus, it is extremely unlikely, that more than a small handful of women surveyed in the GSS would have shared the Vietnam deployment experience, or even have served in the military. Although the findings described here are largely descriptive, they provide new insights into the lives of women who served in Vietnam. Despite its inherent uncertainties, it is clear that a significant subset of the women veterans examined chose an unorthodox at least by the standards of the times career that focused on service military and civilian rather than the normative, expected career of an American wife and mother.
In contrast to the societally-accepted roles for young women in the late s and early s, military service and volunteering for civilian activities in a warzone offered an opportunity for talented women to establish careers, shoulder significant professional responsibilities, rise to high ranks and achieve positions that would be impossible in the civilian world. In addition, career women in general, lived in a supportive community that was knowledgeable and sympathetic to their work as military women.
This could be a factor supporting their general well-being and happiness, and perhaps related to their decision to stay in the military. The contents do not represent the views of the U.
Appendix A Supplementary data associated with this article can be found in the online version at doi National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. SSM Popul Health. Published online Jan Anica Pless Kaiser , a, 1 Daniel H. Daniel H. Kabat b Gold Health Strategies, Inc. Eve H. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Jeanne Mager Stellman: ude. Associated Data Supplementary Materials Supplementary material. Abstract Relatively little has been written about the military women who served in Vietnam, and there is virtually no literature on deployed civilian women non-military.
Introduction On Veterans Day, , more than 25, women gathered on the Mall in Washington, DC, to witness the official dedication of a bronze statue honoring women's service in the Vietnam War. Open in a separate window. Methods Participants and procedure Women were drawn from the VWMP mailing list and included both military and civilian personnel military personnel may or may not have been deployed to Vietnam.
Table 1 Current study measures. Analysis plan All analyses were performed using SAS 9. Results Research Question 1: Are there differences among women who served in Vietnam as civilians and those who served in the military with varying career lengths? Table 2 Demographic characteristics of women deployed to Vietnam, by military status and length of military service.
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Stressful experiences Sexual Harassment Average scores on the sexual harassment scale ranged from 5. Table 3 Rank and reported experiences of women in Vietnam, by military status and length of military service. Exposure to casualties and work stress Mean scores on the exposure to casualties scale ranged from Community support Career military women were more likely to report their community as supportive, both when they first returned from Vietnam and in , than were civilian and short-term military women. Discussion Our study, while perhaps not the first to review the deployment experiences and long-term outcomes of women who served in Vietnam nonetheless does break some new ground.
Limitations The cross-sectional nature of our data limits our ability to draw causal inferences. Footnotes Appendix A Supplementary data associated with this article can be found in the online version at doi Appendix A. Supplementary material Supplementary material Click here to view. References Fox A.
Low mortality rates in industrial cohort studies due to selection for work and survival in the industry. Etiology of posttraumatic stress disorder in vietnam veterans: Analysis of pre-military, military, and combat exposure influences. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Simon and Schuster Source; NY: Psychological effects of military service in Vietnam: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin. Alternative representations of warzone stressors: Relationships to posttraumatic stress disorder in male and female Vietnam veterans.
Journal of abnormal psychology. It was A. Saigon time. The American Journal of Nursing. Risk factors for course of posttraumatic stress disorder among Vietnam veterans: A year follow-up of American Legionnaires. The Journal of Traumatic Stress.
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Veterans Administration; Washington DC: National Vietnam veterans readjustment study advance data report: Preliminary findings from the national survey of the Vietnam generation. The combat exposure scale: A systematic assessment of trauma in the vietnam war. Journal of Clinical Psychology. Course of posttraumatic stress disorder 40 years after the Vietnam war: Findings from the National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study. JAMA Psychiatry. Angels of Vietnam. Leisure-time physical activity, body size, and colon cancer in women.
Nurses' Health Study Research Group. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Medical support of the U. Outbreaks occur following the exposure of many individuals to a common source of the bacteria in the environment. When a single case occurs, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint a source. Environmental testing is recommended only when multiple cases have the same potential exposure. Water temperatures can be raised to reduce transmission, and chemical treatments or biocides can be administered to water systems to inhibit growth of bacteria.
The incubation period, the time between exposure and onset of illness, is up to 12 days. Legionellosis usually begins with symptoms like high fever degrees F - degrees F , chills, muscle pain, and headache. Other symptoms may include cough which may be dry or productive , shortness of breath, chest pain, or even gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea.
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Legionnaires' disease cannot be distinguished from other causes of pneumonia based on symptoms alone. Laboratory testing is required to establish this diagnosis. People of any age may get Legionnaires' disease, but the disease most often affects persons older than The disease is rare in people younger than 20 years of age. People at high-risk of acquiring the disease include current and former smokers, persons with chronic lung disease like emphysema or COPD, or those with compromised immunity like patients who receive corticosteroids or have had an organ transplant.
People with underlying illnesses, such as cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, or AIDS are also at higher risk. A diagnosis of legionellosis can be confirmed by successful culture isolation and growth of the bacteria from specimens taken from an ill patient. Hospitalization may be required for patients with legionellosis. Most cases can be successfully treated with antibiotics. There is no vaccine to prevent legionellosis. Legionellosis is a reportable disease in the state of Illinois, and cases must be reported to the local health department within seven days.
Timely reporting allows identification of additional cases and control of possible contaminated sources. Illinois Diabetes Prevention and Control Program.