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Depress Anxiety. 2010 Mar;27(3):287-93. doi: 10.1002/da.20659.

Combat-related guilt mediates the relations between exposure to combat-related abusive violence and psychiatric diagnoses.

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1
Behavioral Sciences Division of the VA National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System, 150 S. Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130, USA. brian.marx@va.gov

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This study examined the degree to which combat-related guilt mediated the relations between exposure to combat-related abusive violence and both Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in Vietnam Veterans.

METHODS:

Secondary analyses were conducted on data collected from 1,323 male Vietnam Veterans as part of a larger, multisite study.

RESULTS:

Results revealed that combat-related guilt partially mediated the association between exposure to combat-related abusive violence and PTSD, but completely mediated the association with MDD, with overall combat exposure held constant in the model. Follow-up analyses showed that, when comparing those participants who actually participated in combat-related abusive violence with those who only observed it, combat-related guilt completely mediated the association between participation in abusive violence and both PTSD and MDD. Moreover, when comparing those participants who observed combat-related abusive violence with those who had no exposure at all to it, combat-related guilt completely mediated the association between observation of combat-related abusive violence and MDD, but only partially mediated the association with PTSD.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings suggest that guilt may be a mechanism through which abusive violence is related to PTSD and MDD among combat-deployed Veterans. These findings also suggest the importance of assessing abusive-violence related guilt among combat-deployed Veterans and implementing relevant interventions for such guilt whenever indicated.

PMID:
20099268
DOI:
10.1002/da.20659
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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