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SIMILARITIES IN SPECIFIC PHYSICAL HEALTH DISORDER PREVALENCE AMONG FORMERLY DEPLOYED CANADIAN FORCES VETERANS WITH FULL AND SUBSYNDROMAL PTSD

Authors

  • Mathew G. Fetzner M.A.,

    Corresponding author
    • University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
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  • Katherine A. McMillan M.A.,

  • Gordon J. G. Asmundson Ph.D., R.D. Psych, FRSC


Correspondence to: Mathew G. Fetzner, Anxiety and Illness Behaviours Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, S4S 0A2. E-mail: fetznerm@gmail.com

Abstract

Background

The link between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and deleterious physical health consequences among previously deployed military veterans has been well documented. Research has focused primarily on investigating prevalence rates of physical health disorders among individuals with PTSD. Far less research has compared prevalence rates of specific physical health disorders among individuals with full and subsyndromal PTSD. The current study investigated differences in the prevalence of seven specific categories of physical health disorders (i.e. musculoskeletal, circulatory, endocrine, respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurological, and other physical health disorders) among individuals with full PTSD, subsyndromal PTSD, and no PTSD (i.e. controls).

Methods

Participants were from a sample of Canadian Forces Veteran's Affairs clients (n = 990; 96.7% men) who were previously deployed to an overseas combat theatre.

Results

Logistic regressions indicated four categories of physical health conditions (musculoskeletal, neurological, gastrointestinal, and other physical health disorders) were more likely to be present among those with full PTSD compared to those in the control group. Further, five physical health disorder categories (musculoskeletal, neurological, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and other physical health disorders) were more likely to be present among those with subsyndromal PTSD when compared to those in the control group. There were no observed significant differences between full and subsyndromal PTSD.

Conclusions

Current results suggest similar patterns of specific physical health disorder prevalence among those with full and subsyndromal PTSD, which differ consistently from patterns of specific physical health disorders among those in the control group. Comprehensive results, implications, and directions for future research will be discussed.

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