Hope, Coping, and Social Support in Combat-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

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Dispositional hope, coping, and perceived social support were assessed among Vietnam combat veterans upon admission to and discharge from inpatient treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Veterans reported lower dispositional hope than any previously described sample, and hope did not increase at discharge from treatment. At admission, higher hope was correlated with greater perceived social support coming from family (this relationship persisted when controlling for depression and PTSD symptoms). At discharge, higher hope was associated with greater perceived social support coming from family and friends and the use of adaptive coping strategies. Results indicate that hope confers a beneficial effect once veterans undergo treatment for combat-related PTSD, a finding that suggests that hope may be “gone but not lost” for these individuals.

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