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Table 1 Design characteristics of major studies of U.S. veterans of the first Gulf War

From: An assessment of survey measures used across key epidemiologic studies of United States Gulf War I Era Veterans

Study

Inception

Design

Administration

Sample

Focus

Survey Pilot Testing

References

Devens Cohort Study

1991

Longitudinal cohort, substudies

In-person surveys and evaluations, mailed surveys

84 units returning from GW through Ft. Devens, MA

Psychological health, domestic and military exposures

Unable to determinea

[7, 2527]

New Orleans

1991

Longitudinal cohort, substudies

In-person surveys and evaluations, mailed surveys, phone

Units based in Louisiana

Psychological and physical health, stressors

Unable to determinea

[8]

VA Registry

1992

Registry, substudies

In-person survey and two-stage health evaluation

Self-nominated veterans of 1st GW and OIF

Physical health, military exposures

Unable to determinea

[28]

Nat’l Health Survey

1992

Longitudinal cohort, substudies

In-person evaluations, mailed surveys, phone surveys

Stratified random sample of GW-deployed and non-deployed

Physical and psychological health, military exposures

Reviewed by OMB

[10, 29]

PA & HI

1993

Cross-sectional

In-person distribution

All active duty, National Guard, and reserve units in PA and HI

Physical and psychological health

Unable to determinea; similar survey used in previous studies

[17]

DoD Registry

1994

Registry, substudies

In-person survey and two-stage health evaluation

Self-nominated veterans of 1st GW and OIF

Physical health, military exposures

Unable to determinea

[30]

Iowa

1995

Cross-sectional, substudies

In-person health evaluation, phone survey

Stratified random sample of GW regular military and NG/Reserve from Iowa

Physical and psychological health, functional status, military exposures

Tested in 24 veterans from the random sample, and 3 non-sampled members of the military

[2]

Seabees

1997

Cross-sectional

Mailed survey, phone survey

Construction Battalion (CB) members who served for 30+ days active duty during GW

Current and past health issues, exposures, behavioral risk factors

Tested in Navy personnel, reviewed by OMB and DoD, test-retest reliability on earlier survey

[12, 31]

OR & WA

1995

Cross-sectional, case–control

In-person health evaluation, mailed survey, phone survey

Random sample of veterans from OR or WA who were deployed to SW Asia between 8/1/90 and 7/31/91

Physical and psychological health, military exposures

Test-retest reliability survey (exposures) in 305 case–control study participants

[32]

Air Nat’l Guard

1994

Cross-sectional, substudies

In-person health evaluation and surveys

GW veterans from a PA-based Air National Guard unit, two AF reserve units (PA, FL), and an active duty AF unit (FL)

Physical health, risk factors for illness

Unable to determinea

[4, 33]

Kansas I

1998

Cross-sectional

Phone survey

KS veterans or reserve members who served on active duty between 8/90 and 7/91

Physical health, military exposures

Health questions tested in MO veterans

[1]

Kansas II

2000

Case–control

In-person survey and blood draw, phone

Veteran KS/MO residents of Kansas City metropolis, who deployed to GW between 8/1/1990 and 7/31/1991, with Gulf War Illness (cases) or not ill (controls)

Gulf War Illness, military exposures

Tested in veterans residing outside of sampling frame

[14]

Millennium Cohort

2000

Longitudinal cohort

Mailed survey, web survey

Stratified random sample of regular active duty, NG, and reserve

Physical health (chronic illness), risk factors

Focus groups and 1000-participant pilot survey (total 2564 tests)

[34]

Military Health Survey

2007

Cross-sectional, substudies

In-person blood sample, phone survey

Stratified random sample of deployed and deployable nondeployed between 8/2/90 and 7/31/91

Physical health, military exposures, behavioral risk factors

200-veteran sample pilot tested survey content, interview procedures

[16, 35, 36]

  1. Abbreviations: AF Air Force, DoD Department of Defense, FL Florida, GW Gulf War, HI Hawaii, KS Kansas, MA Massachusetts, MO Missouri, NG National Guard, OIF Operation Iraqi Freedom, OMB Office of Management and Budget, OR Oregon, PA Pennsylvania, SW southwest, VA Department of Veterans Affairs, WA Washington.
  2. aWe were unable to determine from published sources whether the investigators conducted pilot testing or early validation testing of their survey instruments; however, this was likely done in many instances.