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Posttraumatic stress disorder and health functioning in a non-treatment-seeking sample of Iraq war veterans: A prospective analysis

Jennifer J. Vasterling, PhD, et al.

Figure. Hypothesized structural model showing effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on health behaviors, health symptoms, and physical functioning (Functioning) at predeployment (Pre) and postdeployment (Post).

Past research indicates that war-zone veterans may experience psychological symptoms such as nightmares, difficulty experiencing happiness, and jumpiness. These and similar stress-related symptoms, if severe enough, are labeled posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, the impact of war can extend beyond psychological symptoms. This study examined 800 Army soldiers before and after they deployed to Iraq and found that higher levels of PTSD symptoms were associated with more health complaints and poorer daily functioning. These findings suggest that the impact of combat stress on health-related problems in daily life should be considered when devising optimal healthcare strategies for returning veterans.

Volume 45 Number 3, 2008
   Pages 347 — 358

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