Influence of trauma history on panic and posttraumatic stress disorder in returning veterans

Psychol Serv. 2013 May;10(2):168-76. doi: 10.1037/a0031178.

Abstract

The current study examined the role of predeployment sexual and physical abuse, combat exposure, and postdeployment social support in predicting panic disorder and PTSD diagnoses in a large sample of returning veterans. A chart review was conducted for 1740 OEF/OIF veterans who received mental health screenings at a large VA hospital between May 24, 2004 and March 26, 2008. Assessments included psychosocial evaluations conducted by psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers in addition to self-report measures. Results suggested that the prevalence of panic disorder (6.1%) and PTSD (28.7%) are elevated among OEF/OIF veterans. Veterans reporting higher levels of combat experience were likely to be diagnosed with PTSD (odds ration [OR], 1.17; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.10-1.25; p < .001) or comorbid panic disorder and PTSD (OR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.04-1.33; p < .001). Veterans endorsing predeployment sexual abuse were likely to be diagnosed with comorbid panic disorder and PTSD (OR, 3.05; 95% CI, 1.15-8.08; p < .05), as were veterans endorsing predeployment physical abuse (OR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.22-1.00; p < .05). Panic disorder was also found to be associated with greater risk for suicide attempts than PTSD (χ² = 16.38, p = .001). These findings indicate a high prevalence of panic disorder among returning veterans and highlight the importance for clinicians to assess returning veterans routinely for panic disorder in addition to PTSD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afghan Campaign 2001-
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iraq War, 2003-2011
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Panic Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Panic Disorder / psychology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report
  • Sex Offenses / psychology
  • Sex Offenses / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Support
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Veterans / psychology
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Violence / psychology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult