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Eur J Pain. 2004 Aug;8(4):345-50.

Pain and PTSD symptoms in female veterans.

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Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies, University of Regina, 3737 Wascana Parkway, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.



There has been growing empirical examination of the co-occurrence of pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and existing evidence suggests that the symptoms associated with each have a close association. To date, however, the association has only been examined within samples of mostly male participants.


In the present study, pain and PTSD symptoms were examined in a sample of 221 female veterans who utilised the VA Healthcare System between 1998 and 1999.


Women who visited the clinic between 1998 and 1999 were mailed a self-report questionnaire package designed to elicit information regarding general health (including pain experiences), military and trauma history, childhood abuse and neglect, and PTSD symptoms. Analyses were conducted to identify differences in pain experience between those women classified as having PTSD, subsyndromal PTSD, and no PTSD. Analyses were also conducted to determine the degree to which pain-related (e.g., current pain, interference with activity) variables predicted PTSD symptom cluster scores.


The three groups differed significantly on a number of pain-related variables. Analyses suggested that pain-related variables were significant predictors of PTSD symptom cluster scores.


These results indicate that the association between pain and PTSD symptoms, previously observed in primarily male samples, is generalisable to females. Clinical implications and possible mechanisms of association are discussed.

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