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Posttraumatic Stress Symptomatology in Aging Combat Veterans: The Direct and Buffering Effects of Stress and Social Support

Hart, Carol L (2006) Posttraumatic Stress Symptomatology in Aging Combat Veterans: The Direct and Buffering Effects of Stress and Social Support. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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AbstractThe literature has reported that some older veterans are still distressed by memories of traumatic experiences decades after wartime military service. Recent research has suggested that posttraumatic stress symptoms may appear or reappear during late life in survivors of past trauma and that stress associated with age-related changes may intensify this phenomenon. This dissertation research examined the relationship between past combat exposure and posttraumatic stress symptomatology in community-dwelling veterans of World War II and the Korean War. The risk factor of perceived stress and the protective factor of perceived social support were examined for their potential to exacerbate or mitigate this relationship. The study also investigated the effect of past combat exposure and the role of the moderating variables on health-related quality of life. A secondary aim of the research was to assess the direct effect of perceived stress and perceived social support on the outcome variables.The results indicated that past combat exposure was positively associated with experiencing posttraumatic stress symptoms in World War II and Korean War veterans. Perceived stress was found to significantly exacerbate this relationship. Direct effect relationships were found between perceived stress and both posttraumatic stress symptomatology and health-related quality of life. The mean number of posttraumatic stress symptoms experienced by participants at the symptomatic level was five. The most frequent symptom experienced was sleep disturbance, the second was becoming upset at reminders of the traumatic experience. Increased levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms were found in veterans who were not married, living in an urban area, and diagnosed with depression.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hart, Carol
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSales, Esthersales@pitt.eduSALES
Committee MemberKoeske, Garygkoeske@pitt.eduGKOESKE
Committee MemberMaguire, Lambertburt@pitt.eduBURT
Committee MemberMorycz, Richard
Date: 15 May 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 21 April 2006
Approval Date: 15 May 2006
Submission Date: 8 May 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Social Work > Social Work
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adaptation; Affection; African-American; Age-related changes; Aging; Avoidance; Behavioral Health; Cognitive appraisal theory; Cognitive Appraisal Theory; Cognitive Decline; Cohort; Cohort effects; Combat Exposure; Coping; Delayed onset; Department of Veterans Affairs; Depression; DSM; Elder; Elderly; Emotional Support; Functional support; Geriatric Social Work; Gerontological Social Work; Gerontology; Health Status; Health-Related Quality of Life; Korean Conflict; Korean War; late life; Late-life changes; Life Course; Male veterans; Marital Status; Marriage; Memory Loss; Men; Mental Health; Military; Military service; Minority veterans; Moderation; Older Adults; Past trauma; Perceived Social Support; Perceived Stress; Perceived Stress Scale; Period of Service; Positive Aging; post-traumatic stress disorder; Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist; Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms; Protective Factor; PTSD; Reexperience; Repression; Resilience; Resiliency; Risk Factor; Rural elders; Segregation; SF-8; Sleep Disturbance; Social interaction; social support; Social Work; Stigma; stress; Stressful Life Events; Successful aging; Survivor guilt; trauma; Trauma survivor; Traumatic events; Traumatic Neurosis; Traumatic Stress; veterans; Veterans Administration; Vietnam; Widowhood; World War II
Other ID:, etd-05082006-114827
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:44
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:43


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