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Readjustment stressors and early mental health treatment seeking by returning National Guard soldiers with PTSD.

Interian A, Kline A, Callahan L, Losonczy M. Readjustment stressors and early mental health treatment seeking by returning National Guard soldiers with PTSD. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.). 2012 Sep 1; 63(9):855-61.

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OBJECTIVES: Readjustment stressors are commonly encountered by veterans returning from combat operations and may help motivate treatment seeking for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study examined rates of readjustment stressors (marital, family, and employment) and their relationship to early mental health treatment seeking among returning National Guard soldiers with PTSD. METHODS: Participants were 157 soldiers who were surveyed approximately three months after returning from combat operations in Iraq and scored positive on the PTSD Checklist (PCL). The survey asked soldiers about their experience with nine readjustment stressors as well as their use of mental health care in the three months after returning. RESULTS: Many readjustment stressors were common in this cohort, and most soldiers experienced at least one stressor (72%). Univariate analyses showed that readjustment stressors were related to higher rates of treatment seeking. These findings remained significant after multivariate analyses adjusted for depression and PTSD severity but were no longer significant after adjustment for age and marital status. CONCLUSIONS: Readjustment stressors are common among soldiers returning from duty with PTSD and may be more predictive than PTSD symptom levels in treatment seeking. These effects appeared to be at least partially accounted for by demographic variables and the role of greater familial and occupational responsibilities among older veterans. Treatment seeking may be motivated by social encouragement or social interference and less by symptom severity.

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