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Abstract

We examined the relationship between trauma exposure and the perpetration of aggression by male Vietnam veterans (N = 1,328) using archival data from a multisite study conducted by the Cooperative Studies Program of the Department of Veteran Affairs (CSP-334) in the early 1990s. Both traumatic events in civilian life and combat exposure were examined as correlates of aggression. Results indicated that pre- and postmilitary traumatic events and combat exposure were all related to perpetration of aggression at the bivariate level; r = .07, r = .20, and r = .13, respectively. When these variables were examined simultaneously, only combat exposure (β = .14, p < .001) and postmilitary traumatic events (β = .20, p < .001) were associated with aggression. No interaction effects were found for civilian traumatic events and combat in relation to aggression. Results highlight the importance of attending to the psychological aftermath of exposure to traumatic events experienced during and following deployment before aggressive patterns develop.