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J Trauma Stress. 2008 Apr;21(2):123-32. doi: 10.1002/jts.20329.

Elevated rates of current PTSD among Hispanic veterans in the NVVRS: true prevalence or methodological artifact?

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Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY 10032, USA.


The elevated rate of current posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among Hispanic Vietnam veterans has been attributed to culturally based expressiveness that inflates symptom self-reports. To investigate this possibility, the authors conducted three hypothesis-driven analyses with National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS) data from the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R (SCID-) diagnosed subsample of male Vietnam Theater veterans (N = 260). First, persistence of the Hispanic elevation after adjusting for war-zone stress exposure initially suggested the effect of greater expressiveness. Second, symptom-based analyses isolated this effect to the self-report Mississippi Scale for Combat-Related PTSD and not to the clinician-rated SCID interview. Third, objective measures of functioning did not reveal a unique Hispanic pattern of lower impairment associated with current PTSD. These tests suggest that greater Hispanic expressiveness does not account for the Hispanic elevation in current PTSD in the NVVRS SCID-diagnosed subsample.

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