Posttraumatic Stress Symptomatology as a Mediator of the Relationship Between Warzone Exposure and Physical Health Symptoms in Men and Women


Wachen, Jennifer Schuster, Jillian C. Shipherd, Michael Suvak, Dawne Vogt, Lynda A. King, and Daniel W. King. 2013. “Posttraumatic Stress Symptomatology as a Mediator of the Relationship Between Warzone Exposure and Physical Health Symptoms in Men and Women.” Journal of Traumatic Stress 26 (3): 319–28. doi:10.1002/jts.21818.

Authors: Lynda A. King, Daniel W. King, Jennifer Schuster Wachen, Jillian C. Shipherd, Michael Suvak, Dawne Vogt


The mediating role of posttraumatic stress symptomatology (PSS) on the association between warzone exposure and physical health symptoms in 7 bodily systems (cardiovascular, dermatological, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, musculoskeletal, neurological, and pulmonary) was examined. We also examined if mediation effects varied as a function of sex. A sample of 317 U.S. Gulf war veterans was assessed for warzone exposure, PSS, and physical health symptoms 10 years after deployment. PSS was significantly associated with postdeployment physical health in all symptom categories when accounting for predeployment health (with effect sizes ranging from a 1.27–1.64 increase in the likelihood of postdeployment physical health symptoms with a 1 standard deviation increase in the PSS symptoms). PSS severity mediated the relationship between warzone exposure and postdeployment symptoms in all physical health domains (with percent mediation ranging 44%–75%). A significant Warzone Exposure × PSS interaction emerged for 5 outcomes such that the effect of PSS on physical health was stronger for veterans reporting lower warzone exposure. No significant interactions with sex emerged. These findings suggest the important influence of PSS on physical health symptoms for both men and women.

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Women, Men, Gender Analysis, Health, PTSD, Military Forces & Armed Groups Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2013

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