In the PRISMO study, different cohorts of deployed military personnel were studied up to 10 years after deployment.
Prospective study of stress-related complaints.
The Prospection in Stress-related Military Research (PRISMO) study was set up in 2005 by the Military Mental Healthcare to conduct prospective and longitudinal research into neurobiological and psychological predictors of psychological problems after deployment. Between 2005 and 2008, a total of more than 1,000 Dutch military personnel were included who were deployed to Afghanistan.
In total, there are seven timepoints within PRISMO at which data from participants have been collected (see figure). Blood and saliva samples were taken at three timepoints (before deployment and one and six months after deployment to Afghanistan). In addition, questionnaires were administered about, psychiatric symptoms, life events, personality, social support and experiences during deployment. The questionnaires were again administered one, two, five and ten years after deployment. An additional personal psychiatric interview was also conducted ten years after deployment. In the coming years, our research will focus on the long-term development of mental complaints (up to ten years after deployment).
- Mapping the prevalence of psychological problems among military personnel up to ten years after deployment.
- Identifying biological and psychological factors that can make individuals more vulnerable to developing psychological complaints after a deployment.
Dutch soldiers deployed to Afghanistan between 2005 and 2008 as part of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) or Task Force Uruzgan (TFU).
The prevalence of mental complaints increases after deployment, but symptom progression over time appears to be specific for the different types of mental complaints. In the case of post-traumatic stress symptoms, a short-term increase in reported symptoms was found within the first six months after deployment (8.2%) and a long-term increase five years after deployment (12.9%). Several biological vulnerability factors have been associated with the development of post-broadcast stress-related complaints, including glucocorticoid receptor sensitivity and testosterone levels. To date, 34 publications have been published based on data from the PRISMO cohort (see Cohort Profile: The Prospective Research In Stress-Related Military Operations (PRISMO) Study in the Dutch Armed Forces (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30842118/ ).