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Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Work-Related Accomplishment as Predictors of General Health and Medical Utilization Among Special Operations Forces Personnel

Bryan, Craig J. PsyD, ABPP*; Stephenson, James A. PsyD, ABPP; Morrow, Chad E. PsyD, ABPP; Staal, Mark PhD, ABPP§; Haskell, Jeremy PsyD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: February 2014 - Volume 202 - Issue 2 - p 105–110
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000076
Original Articles

Research has established clear links among posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), somatic symptoms, and general health among conventional force military personnel. It is possible that the same relationships exist among Special Operations Force (SOF) personnel, but there are very few, if any, studies that examine these relationships. This study investigated correlates of general health and medical visits among SOF personnel and found that the interaction of somatic and PTSD symptoms was associated with worse health and more frequent medical visits. Follow-up analyses indicated that the interaction of avoidance symptoms with somatic symptoms was significantly associated with worse health, whereas the interaction of emotional numbing with somatic symptoms significantly contributed to increased medical visits. In addition, the results suggest that a sense of accomplishment among SOF personnel may serve as a protective factor against poor health. The results suggest developing interactions among SOF personnel that promote a sense of achievement to ultimately improve the health of the force.

*National Center for Veterans Studies, The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; †Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, AL; ‡Hurlburt Field, Mary Esther, FL; §Pope Army Air Field, Fayetteville, NC; and ∥Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, NV.

Send reprint requests to Craig J. Bryan, PsyD, ABPP, National Center for Veterans Studies, 260 S. Central Campus Dr, Room 205, Salt Lake City, UT 84112. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins