Author(s): Askenasy JJ, Lewin I
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Abstract During the 1991 Gulf War, we investigated the effect of missile attacks through two telephone surveys of a large sample of an urban population that evaluated self-reported sleep quality, stress, fear, depressed mood, fatigue and power of concentration. We surveyed 1,045 people during the Gulf War itself, and we interviewed them again (excluding the chronic insomniacs) 30 days after the war. During the war, 51\% of the subjects claimed to be suffering from disturbed sleep. Whereas 13\% of the survey population had been chronic insomniacs before the war, 38\% developed insomnia during the war. The war provoked reported stress (67.5\% of subjects), depressed mood (50.9\%), difficulties in concentration (39.7\%) and increased fatigue (25\%). Four weeks after it ended, 19\% of the previously normal subjects were still suffering from insomnia; 5\% of the cases of insomnia were developed postbellum. Stress, depressed mood and impaired concentration were found to correlate significantly with subjectively evaluated insomnia. We concluded that modern missile warfare may induce long-lasting insomnia in one-third of the population under threat. A small percentage may develop insomnia postbellum. The risk of developing long-lasting insomnia is higher in those who reported experiencing prolonged stress and depressed moods.
This article was published in Sleep
and referenced in Abnormal and Behavioural Psychology