"And the other implication," she said, "is that these findings are particularly relevant given the recent call for the military to reverse its long-standing policy barring women from ground combat."
For his part, Keith A. Young, vice chair for research in the department of psychiatry at Texas A&M Health Science Center in College Station, Texas, said the current insights are what he would expect.
"I'm not so surprised that military women experience similar mental health problems as men," said Young, who is also the Neuroimaging and Genetics core leader for the VA Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans in Waco, Texas.
"There is certainly the idea that has been out there that women are more susceptible to PTSD," Young said. "But I think a lot of the research wasn't very well controlled, and, in fact, in most of the animal work that has been done, it's the male animal that has been most susceptible to stress and PTSD. The female animals have actually proven to be more resilient."
Young cautioned, however, that the principle factor driving the current female combat ban may have less to do with concerns over vulnerability to combat trauma and more to do with the risk of abuse that women prisoners of war might face. In that light, he suggested that the current findings would not necessarily alter the current ban debate.
"Nevertheless, I think this finding will generally help women who are interested in a military career," he added. "It will help justify their ability to pursue that type of career and life."
Vogt's study was partially funded by a Departme
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