Vietnam Veterans Family Study
The 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 four volumes, released in 2014, examine the effect of Vietnam War service on the physical, mental and social health of the sons and daughters of Vietnam veterans.
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 further report, titled Spouses and Partners of Vietnam Veterans – Findings from the Vietnam Veterans Family Study, was commissioned following consultation with the veteran community through the Ex-Service Organisation Round Table (ESORT). Feedback from stakeholders highlighted the importance of including spouses and partners in the VVFS analysis.
Information about the consultation process, ESORT’s recommendations, and the Government Response can be found below.
- ESORT Feedback Paper (PDF 784 KB)
ESORT Feedback Paper (DOCX 604 KB)
- Government Response to the Vietnam Veterans Family Study
The VVFS 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 released in 2014 please follow these links:
- Volume 1: Introduction and Summary of the Studies of Vietnam Veteran Families (PDF 614 KB)
Volume 1: Introduction and Summary of the Studies of Vietnam Veteran Families (DOC 2.92 MB)
- Volume 2: A Study of Health and Social Issues in Vietnam Veteran Sons and Daughters (PDF 748 KB)
Volume 2: A Study of Health and Social Issues in Vietnam Veteran Sons and Daughters (DOC 2.30 MB)
- Volume 3: A Study of Mortality Patterns of Vietnam Veteran Families (PDF 901 KB)
Volume 3: A Study of Mortality Patterns of Vietnam Veteran Families (DOC 2.84 MB)
- Volume 4: Supplementary Studies of Vietnam Veteran Families' Experiences (PDF 2.09 MB)
Volume 4: Supplementary Studies of Vietnam Veteran Families' Experiences (DOC 7.41 MB)
The report Spouses and Partners of Vietnam Veterans – Findings from the Vietnam Veterans Family Study confirms the long-term impact of Vietnam War service on family members. The two main areas that partners were faring less well in were mental health and couple relationships, though significant results were also found for perceptions of general physical health, perceptions of family relationships and socio-economic disadvantage.
The study confirms that veteran partners should continue to be considered in the design of early intervention supports to help reduce the long term impact of military service on families.
- Spouses and Partners of Vietnam Veterans – Findings from the Vietnam Veterans Family Study
- Spouses and Partners of Vietnam Veterans – Summary of findings from the Vietnam Veterans Family Study
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, support is available through Open Arms — Veterans & Families Counselling. Open Arms provides 24 hour, free and confidential counselling and support to veterans and their families. For more information, call 1800 011 046 or visit the Open Arms website.
Families can find out about support available from DVA on the website.
More information about mental health support is also available here.
For further information, see also:
Documents in this publication
Download a copy of the documents below.