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J Nerv Ment Dis. 1991 Jan;179(1):33-8.

Combat-related PTSD and psychosocial adjustment problems among substance abusing veterans.

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VA Medical Center, Psychology Service, Seattle, Washington 98108.


The purpose of this study were the following: a) to determine the prevalence of combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among veterans seeking assistance at a Veterans Administration medical center substance abuse treatment facility, b) to examine the relative contribution of Vietnam war zone variables to PTSD symptom development, and c) to study psychosocial adjustment problems associated with Vietnam combat exposure and with PTSD symptoms among help-seeking substance abusing men. Of 489 male veterans presenting for treatment, 10.7% had significant Vietnam combat-related PTSD symptoms as measured by the Mississippi Scale for Combat-Related PTSD. Clinically significant PTSD symptoms occurred among 46% of the subsample of combat-exposed Vietnam veterans with substance abuse problems. Degree of combat exposure was the most important military stressor that distinguished Vietnam veterans with PTSD from those without PTSD, but the groups also differed on age of war zone duty, duration of war zone duty, and whether they were wounded. Veterans who served in Vietnam did not differ from veterans who had no war zone duty on various parameters of psychosocial adjustment. However, the subgroup of Vietnam veterans with PTSD symptoms reported significantly greater psychosocial adjustment problems than their counterparts who did not have PTSD. The deleterious effects associated with combat-related PTSD appeared to be confined to adjunctive psychiatric difficulties and unemployment and did not increase risk of arrests for antisocial conduct beyond that found for veterans without PTSD. Methodological and clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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