Risk factors for post-deployment posttraumatic stress disorder in national guard/reserve service members

Psychiatry Res. 2013 Dec 30;210(3):1042-8. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2013.08.039. Epub 2013 Sep 18.


Identification of factors that increase risk for PTSD in military personnel following deployments is critical to early intervention and prevention. The study tested hypothesized main and moderating risk factors for PTSD in National Guard/Reserve members deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Members of the National Guard/Reserves (n=238) completed diagnostic interviews and measures of risk factors at a post-deployment assessment conducted an average of four and a half months following return from deployment. Hierarchical multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to test hypotheses. Higher levels of combat exposure, life and family concerns during deployment, and post-deployment social support independently predicted PTSD. Life/family concerns during deployment and perceived adequacy of training and preparation were significant moderators of the association between combat exposure and PTSD. Among those with higher levels of both combat exposure and life and family stress, 27% had PTSD in contrast to 3% of those with high exposure but lower levels of such stress during deployment. In addition to combat exposure, life and family stress during deployment is a particularly important predictor of PTSD. The findings highlight the importance of identifying and addressing such stress.

Keywords: Military personnel; PTSD; Risk factors; Trauma; War.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afghan Campaign 2001-
  • Combat Disorders / complications*
  • Combat Disorders / diagnosis
  • Combat Disorders / epidemiology
  • Combat Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iraq War, 2003-2011
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Military Personnel / classification
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Support
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Warfare*
  • Young Adult