Does perceived ostracism contribute to mental health concerns among veterans who have been deployed?
ABSTRACT: Posttraumatic stress-negative psychological experiences as a result of traumatic stressors-can hinder military veterans' reintegration into society and cause various mental health problems. Veterans need quality social relationships to facilitate reintegration and to cope with posttraumatic stress and related mental health problems; discrimination or other forms of interpersonal rejection can exacerbate these veterans' problems. Ostracism (i.e., being ignored and excluded) is a painful and psychologically distressing experience that may be one factor that contributes to the problems of veterans who are dealing with posttraumatic stress. To our knowledge, this connection has yet to be tested empirically. Thus, we investigated the correlation between posttraumatic stress, perceived ostracism, and other theoretically relevant variables (i.e., mental health problems, perceived social support, psychological need satisfaction) in a sample of veterans who have had at least one deployment. Our results provide preliminary empirical evidence suggesting that perceived ostracism may contribute to veteran' deployment-related psychological problems. Veterans' perceived ostracism correlated with psychological problems (i.e., posttraumatic stress symptoms, anxiety and psychological distress), and it explained additional variance in posttraumatic stress symptoms above and beyond common predictors of these symptoms (i.e., deployment stress, perceived military and civilian-based social support). Finally, perceived ostracism emerged as the most important predictor of posttraumatic stress symptoms in a relative weights analysis.
Project description:Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and stress are significant problems among returning veterans and are associated with reduced quality of life.A correlational design was used to examine the impact of a polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) in the serotonin transporter promoter gene on post-deployment adjustment among returning veterans.A total of 186 returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans were genotyped for the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism. Symptoms of PTSD, depression, general stress, and anxiety were assessed along with quality of life.After controlling for combat exposure, age, sex of the participant, and race, 5-HTTLPR had a significant multivariate effect on post-deployment adjustment, such that S' carriers reported more post-deployment adjustment problems and worse quality of life than veterans homozygous for the L' allele. This effect was larger when the analyses were restricted to veterans of European ancestry.Our findings suggest that veterans who carry the S' allele of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism may be at increased risk for adjustment problems and reduced quality of life following deployments to war zones.
Project description:Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) commonly co-occur in combat veterans, and this comorbidity has been associated with higher levels of distress and more social and economic costs compared to one disorder alone. In a secondary analysis of a multisite randomized controlled trial of a sample of veterans with combat-related PTSD, we examined the associations among pre-, peri-, and postdeployment adversity, social support, and clinician-diagnosed comorbid MDD. Participants completed the Deployment Risk and Resilience Inventory and the Beck Depression Inventory-II as well as structured clinical interviews for diagnostic status. Among 223 U.S. veterans of the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan (86.9% male) with primary combat-related PTSD, 69.5% had current comorbid MDD. After adjustment for sex, a linear regression model indicated that more concerns about family disruptions during deployment, f<sup>2</sup> = 0.065; more harassment during deployment, f<sup>2</sup> = 0.020; and lower ratings of postdeployment social support, f<sup>2</sup> = 0.154, were associated with more severe self-reported depression symptoms. Interventions that enhance social support as well as societal efforts to foster successful postdeployment reintegration are critical for reducing the mental health burden associated with this highly prevalent comorbidity in veterans with combat-related PTSD.
Project description:Reduced hippocampal volume is frequently observed in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but the psychological processes associated with these alterations remain unclear. Given hippocampal involvement in memory and contextual representations of threat, we investigated relationships between retrospectively reported combat exposure, perceived threat, and hippocampal volume in trauma-exposed veterans. T1-weighted anatomical MRI scans were obtained from 56 veterans (4 women, 52 men; 39 with elevated PTSD symptoms, "PTSS" group) and hippocampal volume was estimated using automatic segmentation tools in FreeSurfer. Hippocampal volume was regressed on self-reported perceived threat from the Deployment Risk and Resilience Inventory, and combat exposure from the Combat Exposure Scale. As a secondary analysis, hippocampal volume was regressed on Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) symptoms. In veterans with elevated PTSD symptoms, hippocampal volume was inversely related to perceived threat while deployed while controlling for self-reported combat exposure. Hippocampal volume was also inversely correlated with avoidance/numbing CAPS symptoms. Future research should clarify the temporal milieu of these effects and investigate whether individual differences in hippocampal structure and function contribute to heightened threat appraisal at the time of trauma vs. subsequently elevated appraisals of traumatic events.
Project description:U.S. combat veterans frequently encounter challenges after returning from deployment, and these challenges may lead to difficulties in psychological and social functioning. Currently, research is limited on gender-related differences within this population, despite female veterans comprising a growing portion of the U.S. military with roles and exposures similar to their male counterparts. Using secondary analysis, we examined 283 returning combat veterans (female = 29.4%) for differences in psychopathology and trauma history. Female veterans were more likely to report a history of sexual trauma than their male counterparts, whereas male veterans were more likely to report greater frequency of gambling in the past year, impulsivity, and hypersexuality. No gender-related differences were identified for depression, anxiety, insomnia, or substance-use disorders, although both men and women veterans had higher rates than those found in the general population. While both male and female combat veterans report various mental health problems as they transition back into civilian life, gender-related differences relating to sexual trauma, hypersexuality, and impulsivity warrant additional investigations with respect to the potential impact they may have on veteran reintegration and treatment.
Project description:American veterans are a population that suffer from both context specific stressors as well as many population-specific major-life events. The present exploratory study utilises a longitudinal cohort of 1230 U.S. veterans surveyed from February 2020 through February 2021. We sought to understand heterogeneity in perceived stress, using growth mixture modelling, over this time period, how COVID-specific factors such as negative reactions to the pandemic, loneliness, and employment disruptions influence perceived stress trajectories, and how veterans vary across distal outcomes including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), pain, depression, sleep problems, physical health, and alcohol use disorder. Results revealed a 4-class solution: Stable High, Stable Low, Steady Increasing, and Steady Decreasing classes. In terms of COVID specific factors, negative reactions to COVID were consistently associated with perceived stress for those in the Stable High and Steady Increasing classes whereas loneliness was associated with stress trajectories for all emergent classes. Finally, in terms of our distal outcomes, results showed a relatively robust pattern with veterans in the Stable High or Steady Increasing classes reporting worse scores across all outcomes including PTSD, pain, sleep problems, physical health, depression, and alcohol use disorder. Understanding the interplay between existing vulnerabilities, ongoing stressors, and behavioural health outcomes among veterans is crucial for prevention and intervention efforts.
Project description:Mental health promotion of economically disadvantaged youths is a popular issue in current China. Economically disadvantaged youths are at greater risk of depression. Ostracism may be an important predictor of depression for them. However, no consensus has been reached on the underlying mechanism between ostracism and depression. A total of 1207 economically disadvantaged youths were recruited from six universities in China. These youths were asked to complete questionnaires measuring depression, ostracism, psychological capital, and perceived social support. A moderated mediation model was examined by using IBM <i>SPSS</i> STATISTICS 27macro program PROCESS version 3.5, in which psychological capital was a mediating variable, and perceived social support was a moderating variable. Lack of causal inferences and self-report bias due to the cross-sectional and self-report survey need to be considered when interpreting results. The results revealed that ostracism was positively associated with depression among economically disadvantaged youths. Psychological capital partially mediated the association. Perceived social support moderated the indirect association between ostracism and depression via psychological capital among economically disadvantaged females. Training and intentional practice of psychological capital could be the core to develop the depression interventions targeting economically disadvantaged youths with experience of ostracism. Gender and perceived social support need to be considered in developing the interventions.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Research on Vietnam veterans suggests an association between psychological problems, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and misconduct; however, this has rarely been studied in veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom. The objective of this study was to investigate whether psychological problems were associated with three types of misconduct outcomes (demotions, drug-related discharges, and punitive discharges.)<h4>Methods</h4>A population-based study was conducted on all U.S. Marines who entered the military between October 1, 2001, and September 30, 2006, and deployed outside of the United States before the end of the study period, September 30, 2007. Demographic, psychiatric, deployment, and personnel information was collected from military records. Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was conducted to investigate associations between the independent variables and the three types of misconduct in war-deployed (n = 77,998) and non-war-deployed (n = 13,944) Marines.<h4>Results</h4>Marines in both the war-deployed and non-war-deployed cohorts with a non-PTSD psychiatric diagnosis had an elevated risk for all three misconduct outcomes (hazard ratios ranged from 3.93 to 5.65). PTSD was a significant predictor of drug-related discharges in both the war-deployed and non-war-deployed cohorts. In the war-deployed cohort only, a specific diagnosis of PTSD was associated with an increased risk for both demotions (hazard ratio, 8.60; 95% confidence interval, 6.95 to 10.64) and punitive discharges (HR, 11.06; 95% CI, 8.06 to 15.16).<h4>Conclusions</h4>These results provide evidence of an association between PTSD and behavior problems in Marines deployed to war. Moreover, because misconduct can lead to disqualification for some Veterans Administration benefits, personnel with the most serious manifestations of PTSD may face additional barriers to care.
Project description:Background Little is known about the psychological risks of dispatched citizen responders who have participated in resuscitation attempts. Methods and Results A cross-sectional survey study was performed with 102 citizen responders who participated in a resuscitation attempt from July 23, 2018, to August 22, 2018, in the Capital Region of Denmark. Psychological distress, defined as symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, was assessed 3 weeks after the resuscitation attempt and measured with the Impact of Event Scale-Revised. Perceived stress was measured with the Perceived Stress Scale. Individual differences were assessed as the personality traits of agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness to experience with the Big Five Inventory, general self-efficacy, and coping mechanisms (Brief Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced Inventory). Associations between continuous variables were examined with the Pearson correlation. The associations between psychological distress levels and contextual factors and individual differences were analyzed in multivariable linear regression models to determine factors independently associated with psychological distress levels. The mean overall posttraumatic stress disorder score was 0.65 of 12; the mean perceived stress score was 7.61 of 40. The most common coping mechanisms were acceptance and emotional support. Low perceived stress was significantly associated with high general self-efficacy, and high perceived stress was significantly associated with high scores on neuroticism and openness to experience. Non-healthcare professionals were less likely to report symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. Conclusions Citizen responders who participated in resuscitation reported low levels of psychological distress. Individual differences were significantly associated with levels of psychological distress and should be considered when engaging citizen responders in resuscitation.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:It is increasingly recognized that trauma victims, particularly Veterans, have co-occurring psychological and physical conditions that impact cognition, especially the domains of sustained attention and executive functioning. Although previous work has generally attempted to isolate the unique cognitive effects of common combat-related comorbidities, less work has been done to examine how these conditions co-occur, and whether unique cognitive signatures accompany certain clinical combinations. METHOD:To address this gap, we examined how several deployment-related conditions were associated with performance on a well-validated measure of sustained attention (i.e., gradual onset continuous performance task [gradCPT]) and a battery of standard neuropsychological measures in 123 Veterans from the Translational Research Center for TBI and Stress Disorders. Initially, a Principal component analysis was conducted to investigate how comorbid conditions grouped together. RESULTS:Several sustained attention measures from the gradCPT were differentially associated with four unique combinations of trauma-related pathology. Specifically, a somatic component representing the combination of current pain, sleep disturbance, and mild traumatic brain injury was associated with a higher rate of failures of attentional engagement. On the other hand, a comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mood disorder component (moodPTSD), as well as a substance use disorder component, were associated with higher rates of inhibitory control failures. Increased attentional instability was associated with moodPTSD as well as an anxiety disorder component. In contrast, the cognitive effects of deployment-related trauma were not observed on standard neuropsychological measures. CONCLUSION:These findings suggest that unique combinations of trauma-related pathology have dissociable effects on sustained attentional control. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
Project description:BACKGROUND:Prior investigations have found negative associations between military unit cohesion and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); however, most relied on cross-sectional data and few examined relationships of unit cohesion to other mental disorders. This study evaluates prospective associations of perceived unit cohesion with a range of mental health outcomes following combat deployment. METHODS:U.S. Army soldiers were surveyed approximately 1-2 months before deployment to Afghanistan (T0); and 1 month (T1), 3 months (T2), and 9 months (T3) after return from deployment. Logistic regression was performed to estimate associations of perceived unit cohesion at T0 with risk of PTSD, major depressive episode (MDE), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), alcohol or substance use disorder (AUD/SUD), and suicidal ideation at T2 or T3 among soldiers who completed all study assessments (N = 4,645). Models were adjusted for sociodemographic and Army service characteristics, predeployment history of the index outcome, and deployment stress exposure. RESULTS:Higher perceived unit cohesion at T0 was associated with lower risk of PTSD, MDE, GAD, AUD/SUD, and suicidal ideation at T2 or T3 (AORs = 0.72 to 0.85 per standard score increase in unit cohesion; P-values < 0.05). Models of incidence of mental disorders and suicidal ideation among soldiers without these problems predeployment yielded similar results, except that perceived unit cohesion was not associated with incident AUD/SUD. CONCLUSIONS:Soldiers who reported strong unit cohesion before deployment had lower risk of postdeployment mental disorders and suicidal ideation. Awareness of associations of perceived unit cohesion with postdeployment mental health may facilitate targeting of prevention programs.