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A family study of PTSD : occurrence and correlates of internalizing disorders in children of OIF/OEF soldiers with combat posttraumatic stress disorder
Occurrence and correlates of internalizing disorders in children of OIF/OEF soldiers with combat posttraumatic stress disorder
Letamendi, Andrea M
Stein, Murray B.
Chavira, Denise A.
Wetherell, Julie L.
Roesch, Scott C.
Weersing, V. Robin
xiv, 97 p. : ill.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common psychiatric disorders among U.S. combatants who are deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom conflicts (OIF/OEF). Combat PTSD has been shown to be associated with impaired social, occupational, and physical functioning. An understudied area of research is how PTSD from combat affects interpersonal functioning at the family level. Of particular vulnerability to disruption in relational systems is the parent-child dyad. The present study focused on parental PTSD, child environment, and child psychological symptoms in order to begin delineating pathways connecting parent trauma to child psychopathology. The sample consisted of 21 dyads : Adult participants with and without combat-related PTSD and biological child participants (aged 6 - 17). Parents and children were administered structured diagnostic interviews and dimensional measures of anxiety, depression, and PTSD and home environment. Simple linear regression was used to test a predictive model between fathers' level of PTSD symptoms and child clinical symptoms. Multiple regression was used to test the mediation model of child home environment on the relationship between parent and child symptomatology. Results from descriptive analyses showed that level of fathers' combat exposure was a significant predictor at the alpha = 0.05 level for child anxiety, PTSD symptoms, oppositional, and conduct problems. However, level of fathers' combat exposure did not predict child depression, somatization, or withdrawn symptoms. Results showed no interaction effects. This pilot study demonstrates that the experiences of OIF/OEF combatants such as the nature of their combat exposure during deployment may be important in impacting the psychological outcomes of their offspring. Furthermore, the warzone experiences of OIF/OEF combatants during deployment appear to predict child anxiety, PTSD, and externalizing symptoms, but not child depression, withdrawn symptoms, or somatization. Results of this pilot study should be considered preliminary and the design should be replicated with a larger sample of OIF/OEF combatants. The current findings may be relevant in advancing our knowledge of etiological models of psychiatric illness in youths, identifying at-risk individuals during early life stages, and advancing mental health interventions for military families
Includes bibliographical references (p. 87-97)
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University, 2011
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