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The Relationship Between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Symptoms and Career Outcomes of Army Enlisted Servicemembers

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Doctoral thesis

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD has emerged as one of the signature wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Having provided more troop-years to these engagements than all the other services combined, the toll of PTSD has been especially burdensome for U.S. Army servicemembers. While the adverse mental and physical health outcomes associated with PTSD are well documented, the relationship between PTSD symptoms and military career milestones are often overlooked. This dissertation study endeavors to answer the question To what extent do servicemembers with PTSD symptoms experience negative career outcomes Using deployment, self-reported Post Deployment Health Assessment PDHA survey, and demographic data, this study uses both logistic and duration regression to determine and describe the association between probable PTSD and Army servicemember career outcomes. Results suggest that servicemembers with probable PTSD are more likely to separate and less likely to promote compared to their similarly situated, healthy peers. Furthermore, on average, servicemembers with probable PTSD promote slower and separate faster compared to their healthy peers. The study also investigates to what degree depressive symptoms and deploymentrelated injury influence career outcomes compared to PTSD symptoms. Because servicemembers often experience PTSD symptoms in conjunction with other health conditions, the study explores how combinations of these conditions influence time-topromotion and time-to-separation. Results suggest that servicemembers with comorbidities face the most severe career consequences. To address the observed career outcome patterns for servicemembers with probable PTSD, and to mitigate PTSD-related productivity losses, the study recommends an increase in the number of clinical health providers equipped to administer evidencebased treatment.

Subject Categories:

  • Psychology
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Stress Physiology

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