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Longitudinal Correlates of Aggressive Behavior in Help-Seeking U.S. Veterans With PTSD

Authors

  • Hana J. Shin,

    1. VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California, USA
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  • Craig S. Rosen,

    Corresponding author
    1. National Center for PTSD, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Menlo Park, California, USA
    2. Sierra-Pacific Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, VA Palo Health Care System, Palo Alto, California, USA
    3. Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California, USA
    • VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California, USA
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  • Mark A. Greenbaum,

    1. Sierra-Pacific Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, VA Palo Health Care System, Palo Alto, California, USA
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  • Shaili Jain

    1. VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California, USA
    2. National Center for PTSD, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Menlo Park, California, USA
    3. Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California, USA
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  • This work is supported by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Sierra-Pacific Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, VA Office of Academic Affiliations, and the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Craig S. Rosen, National Center for PTSD, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, 795 Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025. E-mail: craig.rosen@va.gov

Abstract

The current study examined the longitudinal effects of clinical and treatment utilization factors on aggressive behavior among 376 help-seeking U.S. veterans recently diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who were followed for 5–12 months. Participants were sampled from 4 strata: male Iraq/Afghanistan veterans, female Iraq/Afghanistan veterans, male prior-era veterans, and female prior-era veterans. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that changes in PTSD severity were significantly associated with changes in aggressive behavior among veterans who reported any aggression at baseline (β = .15). Changes in days of alcohol intoxication also were positively associated with changes in aggressive behavior (β = .16). Participants with both a benzodiazepine prescription and any baseline aggression were significantly more likely to increase in aggressive behavior over time (β = .14). Contrary to our hypotheses, reductions in aggressive behavior were not related to the number of outpatient mental health visits or to first-line recommended psychotropic medications. Results inform assessment and clinical research on changes in aggressive behavior among veterans with PTSD.

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