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November 1976

Postcombat Violent Behavior in Psychiatrically Maladjusting Soldiers

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of California at Los Angeles Neuropsychiatric Institute, and the Brentwood Veterans Administration Hospital, Los Angeles.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(11):1332-1335. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770110060005

• Thirty-one psychiatrically maladjusting combat veterans, referred for psychiatric evaluation either for administrative reasons or because of specific psychiatric symptoms, were interviewed while still on active duty two months to 1 1/2 years after returning from Vietnam. Thirteen of the 31 reported at least one act of violence against another person since returning from combat.

The soldiers with postcombat violence more frequently than the nonviolent had a history of fighting in childhood or adolescence, of volunteering for Vietnam, of reporting that they had killed four or more persons, and of reenlisting for additional tours of duty in Vietnam.

Maladjusting soldiers who are violent following combat may as a group be more violence-prone both before and during combat than soldiers who are not, but definitive studies are lacking.

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