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An Investigation of Treatment Engagement Among Returning Veterans With Problematic Anger

Dillon, Kirsten H. PhD; Crawford, Eric F. PhD; Kudler, Harold MD; Straits-Troster, Kristy A. PhD; Elbogen, Eric B. PhD; Calhoun, Patrick S. PhD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: February 2017 - Volume 205 - Issue 2 - p 119–126
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000651
Original Articles

Anger is a commonly reported problem among returning veterans, yet little attention has been devoted to studying treatment engagement among veterans who report anger problems but do not have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This study compares Iraq-Afghanistan veterans with anger/no PTSD (n = 159) to others reporting significant PTSD symptoms (n = 285) and those reporting neither anger nor PTSD (n = 716) on rates of treatment utilization, perceived barriers to treatment, and preferences for care. Relative to the PTSD group, the anger/no-PTSD group was significantly less likely to have received mental health treatment in the last year, despite endorsing barriers to treatment at a lower rate. Furthermore, the anger/no-PTSD group endorsed fewer preferences than the PTSD group. Results suggest that the anger/no-PTSD group is a unique subgroup that may be less likely to identify a need for treatment. Implications are discussed.

*Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC; †Sheridan VA Medical Center, Sheridan, WY; ‡VA Mid-Atlantic Region Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center; §Phoenix VA Healthcare System, Phoenix, AZ; and ∥Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.

This manuscript is the result of work supported with resources and the use of facilities associated with the Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or the official policy of the Department of Veteran Affairs, Department of Defense, or US Government.

Send reprint requests to Kirsten H. Dillon, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, 1121 W Chapel Hill Rd, Suite 201, Durham, NC 27701. E-mail:

Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.