THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PERCEIVED SOCIAL SUPPORT AND POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER IN VIETNAM VETERANS (PTSD)

BRAD M WOLFF, Fordham University

Abstract

The present study explored the relationships among social support, amount of combat, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Vietnam veterans. Because the PTSD diagnostic category is relatively new, there have been few studies which have specifically investigated this disorder. Previous research has demonstrated a strong link between amount of combat and adjustment difficulties in Vietnam veterans. In addition, social support has been shown to act as a moderator variable in the relationship between stressful life events and onset of psychiatric disorder. Several categories of hypotheses relevant to an explication of the aforementioned relationship were investigated. Subjects in the study were 90 Vietnam War veterans in the New York metropolitan area, drawn from various sources, including Veteran Administration psychiatric and medical facilities, veterans organizations, private companies, and a correctional facility. The overall sample was split into three groups based upon amount of combat experience. A stratification procedure was utilized for three demographic variables (age, race, and social class) to insure representativeness within the combat levels. Chi square analysis of these variables indicated that there were no significant differences across the levels of combat. A questionnaire battery which consisted of several instruments was completed independently by the subject. The instruments were: Demographic Questionnnaire; Combat Index; Traumatic Stress Reaction Scale; Scales of Perceived Social Support; Social Network Questionnaire; Life Experience Survey; and Marlowe - Crowne Scale of Social Desirability. Analysis of the data was conducted via two factor analysis of variance, Pearson correlation analysis, and multiple regression analysis. Results of the study indicated a strong positive relationship between amount of combat and PTSD, and a negative relationship between amount of perceived social support from family and friends and PTSD. The "buffering hypothesis" of social support was generally unsupported. In addition, the multiple regression analysis revealed that PTSD at the time of discharge was the best predictor of current PTSD followed by current perceived social support from friends, social class combat score and discharge period perceived social support from friends. The results are discussed in relation to the relevant previous research and suggestions for future research are described. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

BRAD M WOLFF, "THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PERCEIVED SOCIAL SUPPORT AND POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER IN VIETNAM VETERANS (PTSD)" (January 1, 1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8506367.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8506367

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