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Vietnam Veterans Family Study

Vietnam veterans' family study cover image of volume 1 introductionThe Vietnam Veterans Family Study (VVFS) is the most significant research program ever undertaken by the Australian Government into the health of the families of Australia’s Vietnam veterans.

The study examined the physical, mental and social health of Vietnam veterans and their families, covering a broad range of health outcomes for these people.

Over 27,000 people participated in the studies, including Vietnam veterans, partners and their children.  Defence Force personnel of the same era who did not deploy to Vietnam, and their families, participated in the study as a control group.

A Scientific Advisory Committee of independent research experts provided oversight of the study and a Consultative Forum represented the veteran community perspective.

The study found that the majority of sons and daughters born to Vietnam veterans are leading healthy and productive lives.  However, analysis found that the families of Australia’s Vietnam veterans are more likely to have considerable emotional, physical, and social issues when compared to families of those who served in that era but did not deploy to Vietnam.

When examining mortality amongst the children of Vietnam veterans, the research found that the children of Vietnam veterans and Vietnam-era personnel had lower mortality rates when compared to the general Australian population and that there were no significant differences in deaths from cancer.  Sons of Vietnam veterans deployed had a higher mortality rate compared with Vietnam–era personnel from late teenage years to adulthood, largely due to external causes which include car accidents, misadventure and suicide.

To see the full reports please follow these links:

For further information see also:

The research shows that operational service affects more than just the person who serves.  It can also impact on family members which is why DVA has services to help families adjust and cope.  Studies such as these help inform support programs and services.

For veterans and their families, including sons and daughters of Vietnam veterans, help is available through the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS).  VVCS provides free and confidential nation-wide counselling and support for war and service-related mental health and wellbeing conditions.  For help, to learn more or to check eligibility call 1800 011 046 (24/7) or visit the VVCS website.

Consultation on the Study’s Findings

Following the release of the VVFS on 28 October 2014, feedback on the findings was sought from the veteran community through the Ex-Service Organisation Round Table (ESORT). Extensive consultation throughout 2015 resulted in the ESORT putting forward several recommendations, which were collated by DVA into the ESORT Feedback Paper. The Government then considered the recommendations in consultation with DVA and the Department of Defence, with the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs issuing a formal response from Government on 20 December 2016. These documents are available below.

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