The role of trauma, social support, and demography on veteran resilience

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Historically, resilience has often been conceptualized as the sustained lack of symptoms following trauma exposure. In line with a novel conceptualization of resilience as being dynamic over lifespan, determined by interacting biological and environmental factors, we examined the VA Mid-Atlantic Post Deployment Mental Health Repository (PDMH) comprised of 3876 US Military Veterans with and without PTSD diagnoses.

Methods: We performed regression modelling to study the relationship between resilience (measured with Connor Davidson Resilience Scale; CD-RISC), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) severity (Davidson Trauma Scale; DTS), social support (Medical Outcome Study Social Support Survey; MOSSS), combat exposure (Combat Exposure Scale; CES), childhood trauma (Trauma Life Events Questionnaire; TLEQ), and demographic factors. CD-RISC was positively correlated with years of education and negatively correlated with DTS, CES and TLEQ scores.

Results: We found an interaction between CD-RISC and CES in predicting PTSD severity (Davidson Trauma Scale). Specifically, high resilience predicted lower PTSD symptom severity than low resilience, this relationship was amplified with increasing levels of combat exposure. Structural equation modelling (SEM) identified an optimal latent variable that represents resilience and relationships between latent variables for resilience, trauma, and illness. We derived a resilience latent variable composed of age, education level, MOSSS and race.

Conclusions: Our results support a conceptualization of resilience as a multifactorial determinant that coexists with PTSD, a state rather than trait variable, and can be quantified by biological and behavioural metrics.

HIGHLIGHTS: • Historically, resilience has often been conceptualized as the sustained lack of symptoms following trauma exposure.• We examined the VA Mid-Atlantic Post Deployment Mental Health Repository (PDMH) comprised of 3876 US Military Veterans.• We found an interaction effect between CD-RISC and CES in predicting PTSD severity (Davidson Trauma Scale).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2058267
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychotraumatology
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 11 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Demography
  • Humans
  • Resilience, Psychological
  • Social Support
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/diagnosis
  • Veterans/psychology

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