The Influence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder on Health Functioning in Active-Duty Military Service Members.

Asnaani, A., Kaczkurkin, A. N., Benhamou, K., Yarvis, J. S., Peterson, A. L., Young-McCaughan, S., Borah, E. V., Dondanville, K. A., Hembree, E. A., Litz, B. T., Mintz, J., & Foa, E. B., for the STRONG STAR Consortium.
Apr 18, 2018

Journal of Traumatic Stress, 31(2), 307-316.

Researchers have suggested that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with significant healthcare burden and utilization of medical services. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of PTSD symptoms on health functioning among active-duty military personnel. Participants in the study were 366 treatment-seeking service members who had returned from deployment and were participating in a larger PTSD treatment study. Assessments included measures of PTSD symptom severity, combat experiences, life stress, health functioning, alcohol use, and depression. We hypothesized that at baseline, PTSD severity and its symptom clusters would be significantly associated with poorer physical and mental health functioning. We conducted separate hierarchical multiple regressions to examine the predictive contribution the hypothesized factors would have on the variance in physical and mental health scores. Consistent with previous literature, we found that PTSD severity was significantly associated with poorer mental health functioning, B = -0.25, SE = 0.08, β = -0.15, t(342) = -3.07, R= .37, p = .002; however, contrary to our hypotheses, PTSD severity was not associated with poorer physical health functioning. Further, the hyperarousal symptom cluster was significantly associated with poorer physical health functioning, B = -0.83, SE = 0.26, β = -0.18, t(340) = -3.16, R2= .11, p = .002, but not mental health functioning. Limitations of our study included the use of self-report measures only and lack of objective measures. Future directions for study include examination of how health functioning perceptions change over a longer duration of PTSD symptoms and after treatment.

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