Impact of combat and non-military trauma exposure on symptom reduction following treatment for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder
Forbes, D., Fletcher, S., Phelps, A., Wade, D., Creamer, M. & O’Donnell, M. (2013). Impact of combat and non-military trauma exposure on symptom reduction following treatment for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychiatry Research, 206, 1, 33 – 36.
Background: Military veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) frequently report exposure to multiple other traumas in addition to their military experiences. This study aimed to examine the impact of exposure-related factors for military veterans with PTSD on recovery after participation in a group-based treatment program.
Method: Subjects included 1548 military veterans with PTSD participating in specialist veterans’ PTSD programs across Australia. The study included measures of PTSD, depression, anxiety and alcohol use.
Results: Analyses of variance found higher combat exposure was associated with more severe PTSD at intake. No differences in PTSD intake severity were evident in those with additional non-military trauma. Severity of combat exposure did not affect treatment outcomes, although those with low combat exposure and additional non-military trauma (which included high rates of molestation) did report reduced symptom improvement.
Conclusions: These findings have implications for considerations of optimal interventions for those with lower levels of combat exposure and additional non-military trauma.