Iraq Troops’ PTSD Rate as High as 35%, Says Management Insights Study

Double Expected Rate; Call to VA for Treatment

HANOVER, MD, September 14, 2009 – The Veterans’ Administration should expect a high volume of Iraq veterans seeking treatment of post traumatic stress disorder, with researchers anticipating that the rate among armed forces will be as high as 35%, according to the Management Insights feature in the current issue of Management Science, the flagship journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®).

Management Insights, a regular feature of the journal, is a digest of important research in business, management, operations research, and management science. It appears in every issue of Management Science.

“A Dynamic Model for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among U.S. Troops in Operation Iraqi Freedom” is by Michael P. Atkinson of the Naval Postgraduate School and Adam Guetz and Lawrence M. Wein of Stanford University.

The tempo of deployment cycles in the Iraq War is higher than for any war since World War II, the authors write, and military survey data suggest that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common among service members.

To assure ample mental health resources to care for returning troops, the authors argue that it is important for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to forecast the timing and number of new PTSD cases over the coming years, which is complicated by the fact that many cases have delayed onset.

The authors combine a dynamic mathematical operations research model with deployment data and PTSD data from the Iraq War, and estimate that the PTSD rate among Iraq War veterans will be approximately 35%, which is roughly double the rate from the raw survey data. This doubling is due to the time lag between the PTSD-generating event and the onset of symptoms and to the fact that many surveyed troops will do subsequent deployments.

Consequently, the authors write, the VA system, which is already experiencing significant delays for PTSD treatment provision, urgently needs to ramp up its mental health resource capacity.

The current issue of Management Insights is available at http://mansci.journal.informs.org/cgi/reprint/55/9/iv. The full papers associated with the Insights are available to Management Science subscribers. Individual papers can be purchased at http://institutions.informs.org. Additional issues of Management Insights can be accessed at http://www.informs.org/site/ManSci/index.php?c=11&kat=Management+Insights.

The other Insights in the current issue are:

  • Cause Marketing:Spillover Effects of Cause-Related Products in a Product Portfolio by Aradhna Krishna, Uday Rajan
  • Impact of Workload on Service Time and Patient Safety:An Econometric Analysis of Hospital Operations by Diwas S. Kc, Christian Terwiesch
  • Service Interruptions in Large-Scale Service Systems by Guodong Pang, Ward Whitt
  • Quality Disclosure Formats in a Distribution Channel by Liang Guo
  • Labor Market Institutions and Global Strategic Adaptation: Evidence from Lincoln Electric by Jordan I. Siegel, Barbara Zepp Larson
  • Poker Player Behavior After Big Wins and Big Losses by Gary Smith, Michael Levere, Robert Kurtzman
  • Revenue Driven Resource Allocation: Funding Authority, Incentives, and New Product Development Portfolio Management by Raul O. Chao, Stylianos Kavadias, Cheryl Gaimon
  • A General Interindustry Relatedness Index by David J. Bryce, Sidney G. Winter
  • Competing Retailers and Inventory: An Empirical Investigation of General Motors’ Dealerships in Isolated U.S. Markets by Marcelo Olivares, Gérard P. Cachon

INFORMS journals are strongly cited in Journal Citation Reports, an industry source. In the JCR subject category “operations research and management science,” Management Science ranked in the top 10 along with two other INFORMS journals.

The special MBA issue published by BusinessWeek includes Management Science and three other INFORMS journals in its list of 20 top academic journals that are used to evaluate business school programs. Financial Times includes Management Science and four other INFORMS journals in its list of academic journals used to evaluate MBA programs.

About INFORMS

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) is an international scientific society with 10,000 members, including Nobel Prize laureates, dedicated to applying scientific methods to help improve decision-making, management, and operations. Members of INFORMS work in business, government, and academia. They are represented in fields as diverse as airlines, health care, law enforcement, the military, financial engineering, and telecommunications. The INFORMS website is www.informs.org. More information about operations research is at www.scienceofbetter.org.