The impact of childhood abuse and combat-related trauma on postdeployment adjustment

Authors

  • April M. Fritch,

    1. 98th Medical Detachment (Combat Stress Control)
    Current affiliation:
    1. 98th Medical Detachment (Combat Stress Control)
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  • Matt Mishkind,

    1. Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury
    Current affiliation:
    1. Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, National Center for TeleHealth and Technology (T2), Madigan Army Medical Center
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  • Mark A. Reger,

    1. Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury
    Current affiliation:
    1. Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, National Center for TeleHealth and Technology (T2), Madigan Army Medical Center
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  • Gregory A. Gahm

    Corresponding author
    1. Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury
    Current affiliation:
    1. Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, National Center for TeleHealth and Technology (T2), Madigan Army Medical Center
    • Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, National Center for TeleHealth and Technology, Commander, Madigan Army Medical Center, MCHJ-CP (Bldg 9933A), Tacoma, Washington 98431-1100
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  • The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.

Abstract

This retrospective study examined the effects of childhood physical abuse (CPA) and combat-related trauma on postdeployment psychiatric symptoms in an outpatient clinical sample of 1,045 U.S. service members. The authors conducted hierarchical multiple regression analyses to examine the impact of CPA and combat-related trauma on alcohol use, anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Analyses revealed significant main effects for CPA and combat-related trauma on anxiety, depression, and PTSD. In contrast, no interactive effects were observed. Findings support and expand current knowledge about the roles that CPA and combat trauma play in the development of psychiatric symptoms and suggest a more complex etiology for postdeployment symptomatology. Clinical implications and future research opportunities are discussed.

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