Correlates of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in Marines back from war


  • This study was funded by Headquarters, Marine Corps (Combat Operational Stress Control), under Work Unit 60518 at Naval Health Research Center. This research was conducted in compliance with all applicable federal regulations governing the protection of human subjects in research (protocol NHRC.2007.0003).

    The authors acknowledge CDR Todd Sander, CDR Steve Blivin, Suzanne Hurtado, Susan Hilton, CAPT David Service, CDR Catherine Bayne, and Dr. William P. Nash for help with project planning, logistics, and data collection. We acknowledge Major Marek Sipko for providing helpful comments on the manuscript. We would also like to thank Science Applications International Corporation, Inc., for their contributions to this research.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.


The effect of combat and operational stress on the mental health of military personnel is a major concern. The objective of this study was to identify factors associated with possible posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A questionnaire was completed by 1,569 Marines who deployed in support of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan (2002–2007). Using the PTSD Checklist with a cutoff score of 44, 17.1% of the sample screened positive for possible PTSD. Of 9 demographic and psychosocial factors examined in relation to PTSD, 4 were significant in a multivariate analysis: deployment-related stressors, combat exposure, marital status, and education. Deployment-related stressors had a stronger association with PTSD than any other variable. This is an important finding because deployment-related stressors are potentially modifiable.