The Influence of combat and interpersonal trauma on PTSD, depression, and alcohol misuse in U.S. Gulf War and OEF/OIF women veterans

Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle Division, Seattle, WA, USA.
Journal of Traumatic Stress (Impact Factor: 2.72). 04/2012; 25(2):216-9. DOI: 10.1002/jts.21686
Source: PubMed


The present study evaluated the impact of combat and interpersonal trauma exposure in a sample of 115 U.S. women veterans from Gulf War I and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on 3 postdeployment trauma-related mental health outcomes: posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms (PSS), depressive symptom severity (DSS), and alcohol misuse. Patients presenting for healthcare services at a Veterans Affairs postdeployment health specialty clinic completed screening questionnaires that assessed combat exposure, lifetime interpersonal trauma history of childhood neglect, physical, or sexual abuse, and adult sexual and physical assault. In a regression model, combat exposure was the only significant independent variable associated with PSS, DSS, and alcohol misuse (β = .42, .27 and B = 1.58, respectively) even after adding lifetime interpersonal assault exposure to the model. Results highlight the negative effects of combat exposure on treatment-seeking women veterans' postdeployment mental health. Incorporating combat exposure into routine screening procedures for Gulf War and Iraq and Afghanistan war women veterans can aid in mental health treatment planning.

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    • "Recent findings from female OEF/OIF samples and from larger all-female samples examining both PTSD and MST together have yielded a different pattern of results. In primarily OEF/OIF samples, MST has not been associated with substance misuse (Hassija, Jakupcak, Maguen, & Shipherd, 2012; Scott et al., 2013), with one study finding an association between combat and substance misuse (Hassija et al., 2012), and one study finding an association between the emotional numbing symptoms of PTSD and hazardous drinking (Scott et al., 2013). In another study conducted among a broad sample of women veterans under the age of 50, Booth, Mengeling, Torner, and Sadler (2011) found that post-military sexual assault and depression predicted substance misuse but not PTSD or MST. "
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