Baseline Self Reported Functional Health and Vulnerability to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder After Combat Deployment: Prospective US Military Cohort Study
NAVAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER SAN DIEGO CA DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE CENTER FOR DEPLOYMENT HEALTHE RESEARCH
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The objective of this study was to determine if baseline functional health status, as measured by SF-36 veterans, predicts new onset symptoms or diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder among deployed US military personnel with combat exposure. Participants were combat deployed members who completed baseline 2001-3 and follow-up 2004-6 questionnaires. Self reported and electronic data used to examine the relation between functional health and posttraumatic stress disorder. Main outcome measures were new onset post-traumatic stress disorder as measured by either meeting the DSM-IV criteria with the 17 item post-traumatic stress disorder checklist-civilian version or self report of a physician diagnosis at follow-up with the absence of both at baseline. Of the 5410 eligible participants, 395 7.3 had new onset symptoms or diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder at the time of follow-up. Individuals whose baseline mental or physical component summary scores were below the 15th centile had two to three times the risk of symptoms or a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder by follow-up compared with those in the 15th to 85th centile. Of those with new onset symptoms or diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, over half 58 of cases occurred among participants with scores below the 15th centile at baseline. Conclusions Low mental or physical health status before combat exposure significantly increases the risk of symptoms or diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder after deployment. More vulnerable members of a population could be identified and benefit from interventions targeted to prevent new onset posttraumatic stress disorder.
- Medicine and Medical Research