Clinical presentations of posttraumatic stress disorder across trauma populations: a comparison of MMPI-2 profiles of combat veterans and adult survivors of child sexual abuse

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2000 Oct;188(10):708-13. doi: 10.1097/00005053-200010000-00010.


This investigation examined differences in symptom patterns of two different trauma samples using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2). MMPI-2s of 122 male combat veterans seeking outpatient treatment for combat-related PTSD were compared with those of 64 PTSD-diagnosed adults seeking outpatient treatment for the effects of child sexual abuse (CSA). We examined variables related to degree of health concerns, depression, somatization, anger and hostility, masculine-feminine traits, paranoid ideation, anxiety, difficulties thinking and concentrating, elevated mood, and social introversion, as well as test-taking attitude. MANOVAs revealed between-group differences on several variables. However, when analyses controlled for the effect of age, nearly all differences disappeared; the only remaining difference was in a scale measuring anger. Thus, it appears CSA survivors and combat veterans are much more similar than different in their clinical presentation on the MMPI-2. Conceptual issues in the assessment of PTSD are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / diagnosis*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / statistics & numerical data
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • MMPI / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Survivors / psychology
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data
  • Veterans / psychology
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data