Resilience and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in National Guard Soldiers Deployed to Iraq: A Prospective Study of Latent Class Trajectories and Their Predictors

Melissa A Polusny, Christopher R Erbes, Mark D. Kramer, Paul Thuras, Dave DeGarmo, Erin Koffel, Brett Litz, Paul A Arbisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined the prospective course of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in a cohort of National Guard soldiers (N = 522) deployed to combat operations in Iraq. Participants were assessed 4 times: 1 month before deployment, 2–3 months after returning from deployment, 1 year later, and 2 years postdeployment. Growth mixture modeling revealed 3 distinct trajectories: low-stable symptoms, resilient, 76.4%; new-onset symptoms, 14.2%; and chronic distress, 9.4%. Relative to the resilient class, membership in both the new-onset symptoms and chronic distress trajectory classes was predicted by negative emotionality/neuroticism, odds ratios (ORs) = 1.09, 95% CI [1.02, 1.17], and OR = 1.22, 95% CI [1.09,1.35], respectively; and combat exposure, OR = 1.07, 95% CI [1.02, 1.12], and OR = 1.12, 95% CI [1.02, 1.24], respectively. Membership in the new-onset trajectory class was predicted by predeployment military preparedness, OR = 0.95, 95% CI [0.91, 0.98], perceived threat during deployment, OR = 1.07, 95% CI [1.03, 1.10], and stressful life events following deployment, OR = 1.44, 95% CI [1.05, 1.96]. Prior deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan, OR = 3.85, 95% CI [1.72, 8.69], predeployment depression, OR = 1.27, 95% CI [1.20, 1.36], and predeployment concerns about a deployment's impact on civilian/family life, OR = 1.09, 95% CI [1.02, 1.16], distinguished the chronic distress group relative to the resilient group. Identifying predeployment vulnerability and postdeployment contextual factors provides insight for future efforts to bolster resilience, prevent, and treat posttraumatic symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-361
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2017

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