Severity of Combat-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Versus Noncombat-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Community-Based Study in American Indian and Hispanic Veterans

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The goal of the study was to compare severity of combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) versus noncombat-related PTSD in a group known to have high rates of combat-related PTSD. Sample consisted of 255 male American Indian and Hispanic veterans with lifetime PTSD who were contacted in communities in 2 regions of the country. Measures of PTSD severity included current posttraumatic symptoms, remission from lifetime PTSD, lifetime severity of alcohol-drug related problems, and mental health treatment history. Our findings revealed that veterans with combat-related PTSD had more severe posttraumatic symptoms, were less apt to have remitted from PTSD during the last year, and—contrary to expectation—were less apt to have sought mental health treatment since military duty. In conclusion, combat-related PTSD was more severe, as compared with noncombat-related PTSD, in this group, on 2 out of 5 measures. A low rate of mental health treatment since military duty may have contributed to increased symptoms and a lower remission rate.

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