Are male disaster workers with Vietnam military service at greater risk for PTSD than peers without combat history?
September 11 Terrorist Attacks
This study examined whether male disaster workers with Vietnam service histories were at risk for posttraumatic stress disorder when compared with colleagues following duties at Ground Zero. The study compared participants from ongoing psychiatric screening of disaster workers: those with Vietnam service (Vietnam veteran; N = 125), those without trauma history (no trauma; N = 116); and those with childhood physical abuse but no combat history (physical abuse; N = 57). ANOVA indicated the trauma groups differed significantly in clinician-rated posttraumatic stress disorder severity (p < 0.005). However, post hoc analyses revealed the Vietnam veteran group did not differ significantly from the no trauma group; both had significantly lower severity compared with the physical abuse group. It should be noted that veterans in this sample, unlike in many studies, were in the workforce. Research with different veteran groups is warranted to clarify further the relation of combat experience and symptoms in disaster workers.