Association of Parental Status and Diagnosis of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Veterans of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.
January 22, 2015
Janke-Stedronsky SR, Greenawalt DS, Stock EM, Tsan JY, MacCarthy AA, MacCarthy DJ, Copeland LA.
Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Publisher: Educational Publishing Foundation
Abstract: Research indicates that concerns about disruption of family relationships during military service may be associated with greater posttraumatic stress symptomatology. The current study sought to extend previous findings by examining the relative odds of a posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis among Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) veterans with dependent children versus veterans without dependent children. Administrative databases were queried to identify 36,334 OEF/OIF veterans with dependent children seeking care in the Veterans Health Administration (VA) during fiscal years 2006–2009. These veterans were matched 1:1 on age, gender, and demobilization date to veterans without dependent children (N = 72,668). In unconditional analyses, OEF/OIF veterans with dependent children versus those without were significantly more likely to incur a PTSD diagnosis (44% vs. 28%).
After controlling for demographic variables, mental health utilization, and other serious mental illness, OEF/OIF veterans with dependent children were about 40% more likely to carry a diagnosis of PTSD. The association was stronger for men than for women. It may be of value for clinicians to consider parental status when assessing and treating veterans with PTSD. In-depth study of OEF/OIF veterans is needed to determine whether disruption of family relationships leads to increased psychological stress or parents are more likely than nonparents to seek VA mental health services for PTSD symptoms.