Added: March 4, 2017 – Last updated: March 4, 2017


Authors: Anica Pless Kaiser, Daniel Kabat, Avron Spiro, Eve H. Davison, and Jeanne Mager Stellman

Title: Women at War

Subtitle: The Crucible of Vietnam

Journal: SSM - Population Health



Year: 2017 (Received: May 25, 2016, Revised: January 11, 2017, Accepted: January 12, 2017)


eISSN: 2352-8273 – Find a Library: Open Access Journal

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | American History: U.S. History | Types: Sexual Harassment; Types: Workplace Sexual Violence / Sexual Violence in the Military


Link: ScienceDirect (Free Access)


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). We examined the experiences of 1285 American women, military and civilian, who served in Vietnam during the war and responded to a mail survey conducted approximately 25 years later in which they were asked to report and reflect upon their experiences and social and health histories.
We compare civilian women, primarily American Red Cross workers, to military women stratified by length of service, describe their demographic characteristics and warzone experiences (including working conditions, exposure to casualties and sexual harassment), and their homecoming following Vietnam. We assess current health and well-being and also compare the sample to age- and temporally-comparable women in the General Social Survey (GSS), with which our survey shared some measures.
Short-term (<10 years) military service women (28%) were more likely to report their Vietnam experience as “highly stressful” than were career (>20 years; 12%) and civilian women (13%). Additional differences regarding warzone experiences, homecoming support, and health outcomes were found among groups. All military and civilian women who served in Vietnam were less likely to have married or have had children than women from the general population, χ2 (8) = 643.72, p < .001. Career military women were happier than women in the general population (48% were “very happy”, as compared to 38%). Civilian women who served in Vietnam reported better health than women in the other groups. Regression analyses indicated that long-term physical health was mainly influenced by demographic characteristics, and that mental health and PTSD symptoms were influenced by warzone and homecoming experiences. Overall, this paper provides insight into the experiences of the understudied women who served in Vietnam, and sheds light on subgroup differences within the sample.« (Source: SSM - Population Health)


    Participants and procedure
    Analysis Plan
    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? What factors are associated with staying in the military for twenty or more years as a career?
    Research Question 2: What factors are associated with psychological well-being and physical health among these groups of women?
    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? How do they compare on aspects of happiness, general health, and mental health?

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