Sources of the increasing number of Vietnam era veterans with a diagnosis of PTSD using VHA services

Psychiatr Serv. 2014 Jun 1;65(6):830-2. doi: 10.1176/


Objective: Correlates of the sharp increase in Vietnam era veterans diagnosed as having posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) were examined.

Methods: Analyses compared receipt of a PTSD diagnosis and service-connected disability compensation in 2004-2006 and 2007-2009.

Results: Among Vietnam era veterans, the percentage with a PTSD diagnosis in 2007-2009 was 22.2% higher than the percentage with PTSD in 2004-2006; the percentage without PTSD was 6.2% higher than in 2004-2006. Of those with PTSD in 2007-2009, 22.6% were previous VHA service users newly diagnosed ("conversions"); only 12.8% were entirely new to VHA ("recents"). Rates of disability compensation among recents and conversions were almost two and three times higher, respectively, than among those without PTSD.

Conclusions: The increase in Vietnam era veterans with PTSD is associated with more frequent "conversion" to PTSD among previous VHA users and receipt of disability compensation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs / trends*
  • Veterans / psychology
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Veterans Disability Claims / trends*
  • Veterans Health / trends*
  • Vietnam Conflict*