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Post-traumatic Stress Disorder by Gender and Veteran Status

  • Keren Lehavot
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Keren Lehavot, PhD, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, 1660 South Columbian Way, Seattle WA 98108
    Affiliations
    VA Puget Sound Health Services Research & Development, Denver-Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered Value-Driven Care, Seattle, Washington

    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

    Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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  • Jodie G. Katon
    Affiliations
    VA Puget Sound Health Services Research & Development, Denver-Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered Value-Driven Care, Seattle, Washington

    Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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  • Jessica A. Chen
    Affiliations
    VA Puget Sound Health Services Research & Development, Denver-Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered Value-Driven Care, Seattle, Washington

    Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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  • John C. Fortney
    Affiliations
    VA Puget Sound Health Services Research & Development, Denver-Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered Value-Driven Care, Seattle, Washington

    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

    Department of Health Services, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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  • Tracy L. Simpson
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

    Center of Excellence in Substance Abuse and Treatment, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, Washington
    Search for articles by this author

      Introduction

      Population-based data on the prevalence, correlates, and treatment utilization of post-traumatic stress disorder by gender and veteran status are limited. With changes in post-traumatic stress disorder diagnostic criteria in 2013, current information from a uniform data source is needed.

      Methods

      This was a secondary analysis of the 2012–2013 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III, which consisted of in-person interviews that were conducted with a representative sample of U.S. adults. The Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule-DSM-5 Version was used to assess past-year and lifetime post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans (n=3,119) and civilians (n=32,982). Data were analyzed from January to March 2017.

      Results

      Adjusting for age and race/ethnicity, women veterans reported the highest rates of lifetime and past-year post-traumatic stress disorder (13.4%, 95% CI=8.8%, 17.9%, and 11.7%, 95% CI=7.1%, 16.4%) compared with women civilians (8.0%, 95% CI=7.4%, 8.6%, and 6.0%, 95% CI=5.5%, 6.6%); men veterans (7.7%, 95% CI=6.5%, 8.8%, and 6.7%, 95% CI=5.7%, 7.8%); and men civilians (3.4%, 95% CI=3.0%, 3.9%, and 2.6%, 95% CI=2.2%, 2.9%). Traumatic event exposure, correlates of lifetime post-traumatic stress disorder, and treatment seeking varied across subgroups. Men and women veterans were more likely than civilians to use a variety of treatment sources, with men civilians being least likely to seek treatment and men veterans exhibiting the longest delay in seeking treatment.

      Conclusions

      Post-traumatic stress disorder is a common mental health disorder that varies by gender and veteran status. Women veterans’ high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder highlight a critical target for prevention and intervention, whereas understanding treatment barriers for men veterans and civilians is necessary.
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