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Ethnic differences in symptoms among female veterans diagnosed with PTSD

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Abstract

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.

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