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Psychological morbidity, quality of life, and self-rated health in the military personnel

Authors Chou H, Tzeng W, Chou Y, Yeh H, Chang H, Kao Y, Tzeng N

Received 13 November 2013

Accepted for publication 20 December 2013

Published 17 February 2014 Volume 2014:10 Pages 329—338


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Han-Wei Chou,1–3 Wen-Chii Tzeng,4,5 Yu-Ching Chou,6 Hui-Wen Yeh,4,7 Hsin-An Chang,1,5 Yu-Cheng Kao,1,8 Nian-Sheng Tzeng1,5

1Department of Psychiatry, Tri-Service General Hospital, School of Medicine, 2Department of Psychiatry, Tri-Service General Hospital, Beitou Branch, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan; 3Department of Psychiatry, Tao-Yuan General Hospital, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan; 4Department of Nursing, Tri-Service General Hospital, School of Nursing, 5Student Counseling Center, 6School of Public Health, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan; 7Department of Nursing, School of Nursing, Kang-Ning Health Care and Management College, Taipei, Taiwan; 8Department of Psychiatry, Tri-Service General Hospital, Song-Shan Branch, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan

Objective: The mental health of military personnel varies as a result of different cultural, political, and administrative factors. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the psychological morbidity and quality of life of military personnel in Taiwan.
Materials and methods: This cross-sectional study utilized the World Health Organization Quality of Life Instrument, brief version, Taiwan version, the General Health Questionnaire-12, Chinese version, and the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) in several military units.
Results: More than half of the subjects (55.3%) identified themselves as mentally unhealthy on the General Health Questionnaire-12, Chinese version; however, a higher percentage of officers perceived themselves as healthy (57.4%) than did noncommissioned officers (38.5%) or enlisted men (42.2%). Officers also had higher total quality of life (QOL) scores (83.98) than did enlisted men (79.67). Scores on the VAS also varied: officers: 72.5; noncommissioned officers: 67.7; and enlisted men: 66.3. The VAS and QOL were positively correlated with perceived mental health among these military personnel.
Conclusion: Our subjects had higher rates of perceiving themselves as mentally unhealthy compared to the general population. Those of higher rank perceived themselves as having better mental health and QOL. Improving mental health could result in a better QOL in the military. The VAS may be a useful tool for the rapid screening of self-reported mental health, which may be suitable in cases of stressful missions, such as in disaster rescue; however, more studies are needed to determine the optimal cut-off point of this measurement tool.

Keywords: military, quality of life, general health scale, Taiwan

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