Posttraumatic growth in Veterans of Operations End...

A growing body of research has examined the prevalence and correlates of psychopathology, mild traumatic brain injury, and related problems in Veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF-OIF). While these studies help characterize the deleterious effects of combat, no known study has examined factors that may enhance posttraumatic growth or positive changes experienced as a result of combat in this population.

A total of 272 predominantly older Reservist/National Guard OEF-OIF Veterans completed an anonymous mail survey that assessed combat exposure, psychopathology, psychosocial functioning, social support, and posttraumatic growth.

Seventy-two percent of the sample endorsed a significant degree of posttraumatic growthin at least one of the areas assessed, the most common of which were changing priorities about what is important in life (52.2%), being able to better appreciate each day (51.1%), and being better able to handle difficulties (48.5%). Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that younger age, greater posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and increased perceptions of unit member support and effort/perseverance were significantly associated with posttraumatic growth. Respondents with PTSD scored higher on an overall measure of posttraumatic growth and on items reflecting appreciation of life and personal strength.

Authors: Robert H. Pietrzak, Marc B. Goldstein, James C. Malley, Alison J. Rivers, Douglas C. Johnson, Charles A. Morgan III and Steven M. Southwick
Doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2010.03.021
Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 126, Issues 1-2.