The current study examined service era differences in a sample of 172 Gulf and Vietnam outpatient veterans with combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Participants completed the MMPI-2 and several additional self-report measures of symptom severity (PTSD, depression, anxiety, hostility, and health complaints). Results indicated that MMPI-2 profiles differed significantly according to service era with Vietnam veterans scoring higher on scales 2, 8, and 0 and lower on scale 9 than did Gulf veterans. Examination of group means derived from parametric analysis of MMPI-2 data suggested a mean two-point code type of 2–8/8–2 for Vietnam veterans and 1–8/8–1 for Gulf veterans. In contrast, when the data were examined using descriptive techniques based on frequency counts of individual MMPI-2 profiles, the most frequently occurring two-point codetype was 7–8/8–7 for Vietnam veterans, and 6–8/8–6 for Gulf veterans. In addition, Gulf veterans reported a greater number of total health complaints than Vietnam veterans, whereas Vietnam veterans reported a greater number of physician-diagnosed physical conditions. Potential advantages of incorporating descriptive approaches versus parametric methods when examining profile data are also presented. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol 58: 371–381, 2002.