Posttraumatic stress disorder among veterans of the Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) wars: Psychological comorbidities, postdeployment social support and unit support
Much attention has been given to treating Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring (OIF/OEF) Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, little attention is given to those Veterans who do not meet diagnostic criteria for PTSD but who may still benefit from intervention. Research is needed to investigate the impact of how different racial/ethnic backgrounds, different levels of social support and comorbid mental health disorders impact OIF/OEF Veterans with varying levels of PTSD. The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the association of comorbid Axis I disorders, race/ethnicity, different levels of postdeployment social support and unit support on OIF/OEF Veterans with varying levels of PTSD. Data for this dissertation were from postdeployment screenings of OIF/OEF Veterans from a large Veterans Affairs hospital in southeast Texas. To examine the study hypotheses, we conducted multinomial logistic regressions of the clinician reported data.
The first article examined the prevalence of subthreshold and full levels of PTSD and compared Axis I and alcohol use comorbidity rates among 1,362 OIF/OEF Veterans with varying levels of PTSD. Results suggest that OIF/OEF Veterans with subthreshold PTSD experience similar levels of psychological distress as those with full PTSD and highlight the need to provide timely and appropriate mental health services to individuals who may not meet the diagnostic criteria for full PTSD.
These results suggest that OIF/OEF Veterans of all race/ethnicities can benefit from strong social support systems. Postdeployment social support was found to be a protective factor against the development of PTSD among White, Black and Hispanic veterans while deployment unit support was a protective factor only among Black Veterans. The second article investigated the association between postdeployment social support and unit support with varying levels of PTSD by race/ethnicity among 1,115 OIF/OEF Veterans.
The results of this study can help to formulate treatment and interventions for OIF/OEF Veterans with varying levels of PTSD and social support systems.
Post traumatic stress disorder;
0573: Public health
0602: Behavioral Sciences
0750: Military studies