POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER SYMPTOMS INFLUENCE HEALTH STATUS OF DEPLOYED PEACEKEEPERS AND NONDEPLOYED MILITARY PERSONNEL


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Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with depression and alcohol abuse. PTSD symptoms also contribute to poor health among military veterans. The aim of the present study was to test models pertaining to the direct and indirect influences of PTSD symptoms on the health status of deployed and sociodemographically comparable nondeployed military personnel. Participants were 1187 deployed male peacekeepers and 669 nondeployed male military personnel who completed a battery of questionnaires, including measures of PTSD symptoms, depression, alcohol use, and general health status. Structural equation modeling was used to test predictions regarding the direct and indirect influences of PTSD symptoms on health status. Results indicate that PTSD symptoms have a direct influence on health, regardless of deployment status. PTSD symptoms also indirectly promote poorer health through influence on depression, but not alcohol use, in deployed and nondeployed peacekeepers. Increased alcohol use did not contribute to poorer health beyond the contribution of PTSD symptoms alone. Future research directions are discussed.

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