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Am J Psychiatry. 2000 Apr;157(4):615-9.

Posttraumatic stress disorder among Hispanic Vietnam veterans.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale Univesity, New Haven, CT 06520-8034, USA.



The purpose of this study was to examine posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among Hispanics who served in the Vietnam War.


The authors conducted secondary data analyses of the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study, a national epidemiologic study completed in 1988 of a representative sample of veterans who served during the Vietnam era (N=1,195).


After adjustment for premilitary and military experiences, the authors found that Hispanic, particularly Puerto Rican, Vietnam veterans had significantly more severe PTSD symptoms and a higher probability of experiencing PTSD than nonminority veterans. However, they had no greater risk for other mental disorders, and their greater risk for PTSD was not explained by acculturation. Despite their more severe symptoms, Hispanic veterans, especially Puerto Rican veterans, showed no greater functional impairment than non-Hispanic white veterans.


Hispanic Vietnam veterans, especially Puerto Rican Vietnam veterans, have a higher risk for PTSD and experience more severe PTSD symptoms than non-Hispanic white Vietnam veterans, and these differences are not explained by exposure to stressors or acculturation. This high level of symptoms was not accompanied by substantial reduction in functioning, suggesting that the observed differences in symptom reporting may reflect features of expressive style rather than different levels of illness.

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