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J Clin Psychol. 2018 Apr;74(4):637-648. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22535. Epub 2017 Sep 22.

Deployment characteristics and long-term PTSD symptoms.

Author information

1
The University of Texas at San Antonio.
2
Department of Veterans Affairs VISN 17 Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans, Central Texas Veterans Health Care System.
3
Texas A&M University Health Science Center.
4
Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
5
The VA Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center.
6
Warrior Research Institute, Baylor Scott and White Healthcare System.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The impact of number, length, and time between (i.e., "dwell time") deployments on long-term Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms was examined in post-9/11 U.S. veterans.

METHOD:

This cross-sectional design includes data from 278 veterans participating in a larger longitudinal research program of postdeployment recovery. Measures included self-report questionnaires and the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale.

RESULTS:

Hierarchical regression was used to evaluate the independent contributions of deployment characteristics on long-term PTSD symptoms after controlling for demographics and combat exposure. As expected, dwell time was a significant predictor of long-term PTSD symptoms (β = - 0.17, p = .042; F5,108  = 8.21, ∆R = 0.03, p < .001). Follow-up analyses indicated that dwell time of less than 12 months was associated with significantly greater long-term PTSD symptoms than those deployed once or with dwell time greater than 12 months.

CONCLUSION:

In addition to combat exposure, time between deployments warrants clinical attention as an important deployment characteristic for predicting long-term PTSD symptoms.

KEYWORDS:

combat exposure; deployment; dwell time PTSD; veteran

PMID:
28940473
DOI:
10.1002/jclp.22535

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