Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 50 Number 1, 2013
   Pages 7 — 16

Abstract — Combat blast injuries: Injury severity and posttraumatic stress disorder interaction on career outcomes in male servicemembers

Susan L. Eskridge, PT, PhD;1* Caroline A. Macera, PhD;2–3 Michael R. Galarneau, MS;1 Troy L. Holbrook, PhD;4 Susan I. Woodruff, PhD;1,5 Andrew J. MacGregor, PhD;1 Deborah J. Morton, PhD;6 Richard A. Shaffer, PhD2–3
1Department of Medical Modeling and Simulation, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA; 2Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA; 3Graduate School of Public Health and 4School of Social Work, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA; 4EPI-SOAR Consulting Inc, San Diego, CA; 6Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, CA

Abstract — The purpose of this study was to describe career performance outcomes after combat blast injury and to examine the relationship between the injury severity and type of military discharge. A retrospective cohort study of 4,255 male servicemembers injured in a combat blast as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom was completed. In the total sample, 37.8% experienced a normal discharge and 8.3% had an early discharge. Of the 2,229 members who had a discharge code, 29.8% experienced a disability discharge. Both early attrition and disability discharge proportions were higher in those with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than in those without PTSD. There was a significant interaction between PTSD and injury severity in the discharge disability outcome. In those without PTSD, there was a dose-response relationship between injury severity and disability discharge. In those with PTSD, injury severity predicted disability discharge. The relationship between injury severity and disability discharge was less striking in servicemembers with PTSD than without PTSD. The effect of PTSD and injury severity on career performance outcomes after blast injuries should be factored into outcome planning.

Key words: blast injury, career performance outcomes, combat blast, functional outcomes, injury severity, mental health, military discharge, Operation Iraqi Freedom, polytrauma, posttraumatic stress disorder.


View HTML  ¦  View PDF  ¦  Contents Vol. 50, No. 1
This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Eskridge SL, Macera CA, Galarneau MR, Holbrook TL, Woodruff SI, MacGregor AJ, Morton DJ, Shaffer RA. Combat blast injuries: Injury severity and posttraumatic
stress disorder interaction on career outcomes in male servicemembers. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2013;50(1):7–16.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1682/JRRD.2012.01.0004
ResearcherID: Susan L. Eskridge, PT, PhD: G-1665-2011
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Last Reviewed or Updated  Monday, March 11, 2013 2:12 PM

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