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The mental health impact of COVID-19-related stressors among treatment-seeking trauma-exposed veterans.

McLean CP, Wachsman T, Morland L, Norman SB, Hooper V, Cloitre M. The mental health impact of COVID-19-related stressors among treatment-seeking trauma-exposed veterans. Journal of traumatic stress. 2022 Dec 1; 35(6):1792-1800.

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Trauma-exposed veterans receiving mental health care may have an elevated risk of experiencing COVID-19-related difficulties. Using data from several ongoing clinical trials (N = 458), this study examined exposure to COVID-19-related stressors and their associations with key sociodemographic factors and mental health outcomes. The results showed that exposure to COVID-19-related stressors was common, higher among veterans who were racial/ethnic minorities d = 0.32, and associated with elevated posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), r = .288, and depressive symptom severity, r = .246. Women veterans experienced more difficulty accessing social support, d = 0.31, and higher levels of COVID-19-related distress, d = 0.31, than men. Qualitative data were consistent with survey findings and highlighted the broader societal context in veterans' experience of COVID-19-related distress. These findings may inform future research on the impact of the pandemic on veterans, particularly those who are women and members of minoritized racial/ethnic groups, as well as mental health treatment planning for this population.

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