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Volume 45 Number 3, 2008
   Pages 383 — 394

Abstract - Exploration of gender differences in how quality of life relates to posttraumatic stress disorder in male and female veterans

Paula P. Schnurr, PhD;1-2* Carole A. Lunney, MA1

1National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; 2Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH

Abstract — Significant gaps exist in our knowledge about gender differences in quality of life among individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We addressed these gaps by using data from two randomized clinical trials of veterans treated in Department of Veterans Affairs settings: 358 male Vietnam veterans who received group therapy and 203 female veterans who received individual psychotherapy. Using confirmatory factor analysis, we found that a four-factor structure for the Quality of Life Inventory provided the best fit for both groups. Overall quality of life was poor in men and women, and in general, they did not differ in quality of life or in how PTSD was associated with quality of life; the few statistically significant differences were small and clinically insignificant. For both men and women, numbing was uniquely associated with reduced quality of life. We suggest that quality of life should receive increased attention in research and clinical efforts to help veterans with PTSD.

Key words: functional impairment, gender differences, measurement, posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD, quality of life, rehabilitation, treatment, VA, veterans.

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