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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2000 Apr;68(2):258-68.

Predictors and outcomes of posttraumatic stress disorder in World War II veterans exposed to mustard gas.

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National Center for PTSD, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, White River Junction, Vermont 05009, USA.


Current posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) associated with participation in secret military tests of mustard gas during World War II was assessed in 363 male military veterans who were randomly sampled from a registry developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Current prevalence was 32% for full PTSD and 10% for partial PTSD. Prevalence of PTSD varied as a function of risk and protective factors, including volunteering, physical symptoms during the tests, and prohibited disclosure. Prediction of partial PTSD was weaker than prediction of full PTSD. Veterans with full PTSD reported poorer physical health, a higher likelihood of several chronic illnesses and health-related disability, greater functional impairment, and higher likelihood of health care use than those with no PTSD. Veterans with partial PTSD also had poorer outcomes than did veterans with no PTSD in a subset of these domains. There is discussion of the traumatic elements of experimental mustard gas exposure, vulnerability to PTSD, and the relevance of these findings to understanding the broad range of outcomes associated with PTSD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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