The Influence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Numbing and Hyperarousal Symptom Clusters in the Prediction of Physical Health Status in Veterans With Chronic Tobacco Dependence and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

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Smoking and PTSD are predictors of poor physical health status. This study examined the unique contribution of PTSD symptoms in the prediction of the SF-36 physical health status subscales accounting for cigarette smoking, chronic medical conditions, alcohol and drug use disorders, and depression. This study examined baseline interview and self-report data from a national tobacco cessation randomized, controlled trial (Veterans Affairs Cooperative Study 519) that enrolled tobacco-dependent veterans with chronic PTSD (N = 943). A series of blockwise multiple regression analyses indicated that PTSD numbing and hyperarousal symptom clusters explained a significant proportion of the variance across all physical health domains except for the Physical Functioning subscale, which measures impairments in specific physical activities. Our findings further explain the impact of PTSD on health status by exploring the way PTSD symptom clusters predict self-perceptions of health, role limitations, pain, and vitality.

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