This study investigates posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its associated risk factors in a random, national, Canadian sample of United Nations peacekeeping veterans with service-related disabilities.
Participants included 1016 male veterans (age < 65 years) who served in the Canadian Forces from 1990 to 1999 and were selected from a larger random sample of 1968 veterans who voluntarily and anonymously completed a general health survey conducted by Veterans Affairs Canada in 1999. Survey instruments included the PTSD Checklist-Military Version (PCL-M), Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D), and questionnaires regarding life events during the past year, current stressors, sociodemographic characteristics, and military history.
We found that rates of probable PTSD (PCL-M score > 50) among veterans were 10.92% for veterans deployed once and 14.84% for those deployed more than once. The rates of probable clinical depression (CES-D score > 16) were 30.35% for veterans deployed once and 32.62% for those deployed more than once. We found that, in multivariate analyses, probable PTSD rates and PTSD severity were associated with younger age, single marital status, and deployment frequency.
PTSD is an important health concern in the veteran population. Understanding such risk factors as younger age and unmarried status can help predict morbidity among trauma-exposed veterans.