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Keywords:

  • posttraumatic stress disorder;
  • health;
  • ambulatory monitoring;
  • combat veterans

Abstract

This study investigated the associations among PTSD, ambulatory cardiovascular monitoring, and physical health self-reports in 117 male Vietnam combat veterans (61 with PTSD and 56 without PTSD). PTSD was associated with health symptoms and number of current health conditions beyond the influence of several covariates. PTSD was associated with greater systolic blood pressure variability, and an elevated percentage of heart rate and systolic blood pressure readings above baseline. Higher mean heart rate and an elevated percentage of heart rate above baseline were associated with physical health symptoms. None of the ambulatory monitoring variables mediated the association between PTSD and physical health outcomes. Findings suggest that the interrelationships among ambulatory autonomic responses, PTSD, and physical health deserve more research attention.