Women Veterans Project: Operation Iraqi Freedom


Name: Penny Pierce

Rank: Col, USAFR

Organization: The Regents of The University of Michigan

Performance Site: University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, MI

Year Published: 2004

Abstract Status: Final


The opportunity to study the health consequences of women serving in the most recent Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in a timely fashion meets a critical and long-standing need. Despite the increased emphasis of health surveillance following the Persian Gulf War (PGW), there remains many unanswered questions regarding the effects of wartime deployment on key outcomes that directly influence the readiness posture of today's military force. Therefore, the purpose of this project is to conduct a comprehensive cross-sectional study of women deployed in service of OIF, to disentangle the multiple, additive and interactive effects of war-related stressors including mobilization and deployment, and other predisposing factors that impact physical and mental health as well as retention in the armed forces. Our survey design is based on previous experience with three TSNRP funded studies of Gulf War veteran women and we will randomly select and recruit 1200 Air Force women to determine the effects of various deployment experiences and work and family stressors on women's physical and mental health as well as on their likelihood to remain in military service. More specifically, we propose to also describe the incidence, prevalence, and nature of symptoms associated with the type of deployment in OIF and service component (i.e., active, reserve, guard). Further, we will build on our previous work by comparing the magnitude of various stressors on the same outcome variables (using data from our prior studies) to allow for comparisons between the Persian Gulf War and the current Operation Iraqi Freedom. Our overall goal is to construct and validate two hypothesized models that describe the effects of deployment as well as key demographic variables and job stressors, on the physical and mental health of the servicewomen, and on their intention to remain in the Air Force following service during OIF. These models would provide critical information for policymaking as well as the development of interventions to improve the health of military women recovering from, and preparing for, wartime mobilization and their motivation to remain in uniform following deployment.


Final report is available on NTRL: