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Post-traumatic stress disorder in Hispanic Vietnam veterans. Clinical phenomenology and sociocultural characteristics.

Escobar JI, et al. J Nerv Ment Dis. 1983.


The complex symptomatology of Hispanic Vietnam veterans receiving treatment for post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) was explored with the National Institute of Mental Health Diagnostic Interview Schedule, a structured diagnostic interview that yields current and lifetime operational diagnoses (e.g., DSM-III). Social networks and level of acculturation of these veterans were also examined and compared to those of a "control" group and a sample of veterans with DSM-III schizophrenic disorder (both samples included only Hispanic veterans from the Vietnam and post-Vietnam eras). All subjects reported heavy combat stress and met DSM-III criteria for PTSD. Most were very symptomatic and had significant social impairment. PTSD was rarely seen as a discrete entity but appeared instead mixed with symptom clusters cutting across various DSM-III diagnoses. Social networks of PTSD veterans were intermediate in size, frequency of contact with network members, and network density to those of the comparison groups. A distinctive feature of the PTSD group was the high proportion of negative relationships with close family members, especially spouses. "Highly" symptomatic PTSD veterans reported significantly smaller networks, fewer contacts outside the close family circle, and more negative emotionality directed toward family members than "minimally" symptomatic veterans. While all Hispanic groups studied were not significantly different in level of acculturation, PTSD veterans appeared more alienated from their cultural heritage than the other groups. The severe and polymorphous psychopathology found among these veterans suggests that "rap" groups alone may not constitute an adequate therapeutic approach and that more formal psychiatric therapies should be additionally considered in the management of Vietnam-linked PTSD.


6619821 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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