Does prior psychological health influence recall of military experiences? a prospective study



In a prospective study, we evaluated pre- and postdeployment psychological health on recall of risk factors to assess recall bias. Measures of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), PTSD Checklist (PCL), and symptom clusters from the PCL were obtained from 681 UK military personnel along with information on traumatic and protective risk factors. Postdeployment psychological health was more important in explaining recall of traumatic experiences than predeployment psychological health. Predeployment intrusive cluster scores were highly associated with traumatic exposures. Postdeployment, but not predeployment GHQ showed small effects for most risk factors. With the exception of intrusive thoughts, there is insufficient evidence to suggest predeployment psychological status would be useful in correcting for recall bias in subsequent cross-sectional studies.