An epidemiological evaluation of trauma types in a cohort of deployed service members.

Presseau, C., Litz, B. T., Kline, N. K., Elsayed, N. M., Maurer, D., Kelly, K., Dondanville, K. A., Mintz, J., Young-McCaughan, S., Peterson, A. L., & Williamson, D. E., on behalf of the STRONG STAR Consortium.
Nov 1, 2019

Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 11(8), 877-885.

Objective: Using Stein et al.’s (2012) categorization scheme for typing Criterion A events (i.e., Life Threat to Self, Life Threat to Other, Aftermath of Violence, Traumatic Loss, Moral Injury by Self, and Moral Injury by Other) and extending Litz et al.’s (2018) prior work, we investigated the prevalence of trauma types, prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder within each trauma type, and associations between trauma types and behavioral and mental health outcomes for an epidemiological sample of service members. Method: Criterion A events coded by independent raters (kappas = .85–1.00) were used to determine prevalence rates and to conduct two path models examining all trauma types in relation to mental health outcomes. Results: Consistent with prior research, we found events containing Life Threat to Self (51.1%) and Life Threat to Other (30.8%) to be most prevalent, and a majority of events (62.9%) were coded with one trauma type. Although least prevalent, Aftermath of Violence (12.0%) and Moral Injury by Self (4.8%) were most frequently and strongly associated with worse mental health outcomes. Path models predicted a very small amount of variance in continuous outcomes, thus limiting the interpretation of findings. Conclusion: More epidemiological research is needed to understand the role of trauma type in relation to mental health among nontreatment-seeking service members.