Factor structure of deployment experiences and relations to mental health disorders among treatment-seeking Canadian armed forces personnel and veterans.
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OBJECTIVE: Among a sample of 341 treatment-seeking veterans and currently serving Canadian Forces members, our objectives were to identify factors of deployment experiences and determine whether they were related to the severity of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom clusters and depressive, anxiety, and alcohol use symptom severity. METHOD: Participants completed questionnaires during intake to an outpatient mental health clinic. Factor analysis was used to determine factors of deployment experiences and which mental health conditions were associated with the factors. RESULTS: Exploratory factor analysis grouped experiences into 3 factors: (a) combat, (b) exposure to injury or death, and (c) potential moral injury and atrocity. Potential moral injury and atrocity was significantly associated with all outcomes except for alcohol use disorder, and combat was significantly associated with the arousal PTSD symptom cluster and depressive symptom severity. CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates the association between combat experiences and PTSD symptom, depression, and anxiety severity. Clinically, it stresses the importance of evaluating specific traumatic events to improve treatment outcomes. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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