feet, conditions that are all known to be linked to harshness of treatment during captivity.

Table 4.4 shows only two medical conditions not associated with prison camp treatment that have appreciably higher prevalences among POWs than controls in the MFUA study: hypertension (in the PWP group) and ulcer (in the PWK). Dysentery is the only prison camp symptom appreciably elevated in all four MFUA POW groups, with beriberi and frozen feet markedly elevated in two of the four groups; there were no noteworthy differences between POWs and controls for lifetime malaria prevalence. The prevalence of cerebrovascular accident appears high in the WK group, especially compared with WP and WE, but it is based on a small sample and is therefore not appreciably higher than the PWK rate (or the PWP, PWE, or PWEM rates). Given the general agreement among all the latter rates, it may be that WP and WE cerebrovascular prevalence rates are unusually low—these are both based on very small samples—rather than the WK rates being unusually high.

Psychiatric conditions are a different matter, with depressive disorder and generalized anxiety showing appreciably higher prevalence rates across all four MFUA POW groups; the rate of 0% among WE is probably attributable to small (N = 27) sample size. PTSD is markedly elevated in PWP and PWK and is somewhat higher, although not appreciably so, in PWEM. None of the other psychiatric disorders showed an appreciably higher lifetime prevalence among POWs. Chapters 5 and 6 present a more detailed analysis of the examination data, as well as of the structured psychiatric interview and psychological data. Further discussion of the Eberly and Engdahl data can be found in Chapter 7.


Eberly RE, Engdahl BE. 1991. Prevalence of somatic and psychiatric disorders among former prisoners of war. Hosp. Commun. Psychiatry 42:807–813.

Helzer JE, Robins LN, McEvoy L. 1987. Post-traumatic stress disorder in the general population. N. Engl. J. Med. 317:1630–1634.

Kleinbaum DG, Kupper LL, Morgenstern H. 1982. Epidemiologic Research: Principles and Quantitative Methods, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, p. 118.

National Institute on Aging. 1986. Established Populations for Epidemiological Studies of the Elderly. NIH publication 86–2443. Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office.

Robins LN, Heizer JE, Weissman MM, et al. 1984. Lifetime prevalence of specific psychiatric disorders at three sites. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 41:949–958.

Spitzer RL, Endicott J, Robin E. 1978. Research Diagnostic Criteria: rationale and reliability. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 35:773–782.

Weissman MM, Myers JK. 1978. Affective disorders in a U.S. urban community: the use of the Research Diagnostic Criteria in an epidemiologic survey. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 35:1304–1311.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement