Ethnic differences in symptoms among female veterans diagnosed with PTSD



Among U.S. male Vietnam veterans, Hispanics have been shown to have higher rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than African Americans and non-Hispanic Whites (Kulka et al., 1990). In terms of gender, Tolin and Foa's (2006) meta-analysis suggested women experience higher rates of PTSD than men. This study examined ethnic differences in PTSD and other symptomatology among 398 female veterans (63% non-Hispanic White, 28% Hispanic, 9% African American) seeking treatment for PTSD from 1995 to 2009 at a Veterans Administration (VA) behavioral health clinic. The following symptom clusters were examined: anxiety/PTSD, depression, anger/hostility, and psychotic/dissociative symptoms. Few differences were found among the groups, suggesting the 3 ethnic groups studied were more similar than different. African American female veterans, however, scored higher on measuring ideas of persecution/paranoia, although this may reflect an adaptive response to racism. These findings warrant further investigation to elucidate this relationship.