Structure of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and psychosocial functioning in Veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom

Robert H. Pietrzak, Marc B. Goldstein, James C. Malley, Alison J. Rivers, Steven M. Southwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations

Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most prevalent psychiatric conditions in Veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF-OIF), but little is known about the structure of PTSD symptoms, and associations between PTSD symptom clusters and psychosocial functioning in this population. A total of 272 OEF-OIF Veterans in Connecticut completed a mail survey containing measures of psychopathology, resilience, and psychosocial functioning. Confirmatory factor analyses revealed that the 4-factor dysphoria model, which is comprised of separate re-experiencing, avoidance, dysphoria, and hyperarousal symptom clusters, provided the best representation of PTSD symptom structure in this sample. Dysphoria symptoms were independently associated with a broad range of psychosocial measures, even after controlling for age, combat exposure, and other PTSD symptom clusters. Re-experiencing symptoms were associated with alcohol use problems, and avoidance symptoms were associated with increased psychosocial difficulties and decreased perceptions of postdeployment social support. These results suggest that dysphoria symptoms were strongly related to a broad range of psychosocial measures in this sample of OEF-OIF Veterans. Dysphoria symptoms may deserve special attention in the assessment and treatment of symptomatic OEF-OIF Veterans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-329
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume178
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Confirmatory factor analysis
  • Depression
  • Functioning
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Stigma
  • Treatment
  • Validity

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