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The Viet Nam Era prisoner of war: precaptivity personality and the development of psychiatric illness
Am J Psychiatry 1981;138:315-318.
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Abstract

The author examines the role of the preexisting personality structure in the development of psychiatric illness after prisoner of war (POW) experience using case studies of six repatriated Viet Nam POWs who were coincidentally evaluated before their captivity. Findings indicate that the presence of psychiatric illness or predisposition to psychiatric illness is neither necessary nor sufficient for the development of psychiatric illness after repatriation. Personality changes reflect both adaptation to the captivity environment and the impact of the ego- ideal over that of the punitive elements of the superego. The perspective of personality change rather than psychopathology is more explanatory of the findings.

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