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Keywords:

  • trauma;
  • coping;
  • combat stress;
  • post-traumatic stress disorder

Abstract

The present report examined ongoing patterns of coping in Vietnam combat veterans from community, outreach, and treatment samples. After reviewing various schemas for conceptualizing coping which exist in the literature, seven coping strategies empirically derived from the Horowitz Coping Inventory were described. Results indicated that the modes of coping most associated with combat intensity were the same as those associated with more symptomatology and a clinical diagnosis of PTSD in the present: event processing, time out for reflection, religion, and denial. Veterans who improved in short-term therapy for PTSD, on the other hand, used emotional expression and sublimation strategies. The findings were discussed in terms of the disorder of PTSD, the recovery process, and conceptual models of adapation to stress.