Risk Factors for Course of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Vietnam Veterans: A 14-Year Follow-Up of American Legionnaires

Koenen, Karestan C.; Stellman, Jeanne M.; Stellman, Steven D.; Sommer Jr., John F.

Risk factors affecting the course of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are poorly understood. As part of a larger study on characterizing exposure to herbicides in Vietnam, the authors investigated this issue in a random sample of 1,377 American Legionnaires who had served in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War and were followed over a 14-year period. High combat exposure, perceived negative community attitudes at homecoming, minority race, depression symptoms at Time 1, and more anger at Time 1 predicted a more chronic course. Community involvement at Time 1 was protective and associated with decreased risk at Time 2. Discomfort in disclosing Vietnam experiences was associated with an increased risk for developing PTSD but did not predict its course. Combat exposure predicted PTSD course more strongly than any other risk factor. Findings suggest recovery from PTSD is significantly influenced by perceived social support.


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Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology

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Health Policy and Management
Published Here
October 28, 2014