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Latent classes of PTSD symptoms in veterans undergoing residential PTSD treatment.

Sripada RK, Hoff R, Pfeiffer PN, Ganoczy D, Blow FC, Bohnert KM. Latent classes of PTSD symptoms in veterans undergoing residential PTSD treatment. Psychological Services. 2020 Feb 1; 17(1):84-92.

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Although most veterans in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system are treated for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the outpatient setting, the VA has approximately 40 residential PTSD treatment facilities across the country for those requiring more intensive care. The symptom profiles of these veterans are poorly understood. Thus, the current study was designed to characterize classes of PTSD symptoms in a national sample of veterans undergoing residential treatment. We analyzed latent classes of PTSD symptoms among 2,452 veterans entering VA PTSD residential treatment in fiscal year 2013. The model with the best fit was a 4-class model comprising a low symptom class, moderate symptom class with high reexperiencing symptoms, a moderate symptom class with high emotional numbing, and a high symptom class. Compared to classes identified in outpatient samples, these classes were similar in type but greater in severity. Classes differed by age, race/ethnicity, trauma type, co-occurring medical conditions, co-occurring psychiatric conditions, and social functioning. Compared to the moderate class with high emotional numbing, those in the moderate class with high reexperiencing symptoms were more likely to be non-White, have greater pain severity, greater sleep problems, and were less likely to be depressed. Our findings suggest that veterans in residential treatment who have more severe PTSD symptoms also experience other medical and psychosocial stressors. A better understanding of symptom profiles may help to create more individualized treatment planning and thus potentially improve care for these veterans. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

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