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Psych Congress  

Rank Association With PTSD Severity in a U.S. Active Duty Military Inpatient Population

Joseph Mansfield, MD; Chris Jorgensen, MD

This poster was presented at the 30th annual  Psych Congress, held Sept. 16-19, 2017, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Background: The military's ranks are filled with a wide variety of men and women that have diverse backgrounds, experiences and capabilities. With promotion, it is expected that their ability to not only complete tasks but also withstand trials will increase. This study investigated the relationship between PTSD and rank in a sample of military members presenting for inpatient psychiatric hospitalization.

Objective: To compare PTSD severity in an active duty military population in regards to the ranks of the participants.

Methods: A de-identified database of psychiatric inpatient information was used to investigate a relationship between the PTSD Checklist-Civilian (PCL-C) and the subject's military rank. The subjects were adults (18-50). Inclusion criteria included admission to the San Antonio Military Medical Center inpatient psychiatric ward and an ability to complete psychometrics.

Results: Psychometric and demographic data of 269 U.S. Army and Air Force patients over a span of 9 months revealed a mean PCL-C score of 39.6. The PCL-C aggregate scores were found to be higher for the Army lower enlisted (<E6) in the Army compared to the Air Force.  The Army saw the peak PCL-C scores at the E-5 rank whereas the Air Force saw their peak at one of their highest enlisted ranks (E-8).

Conclusion: Increased rank in the target population positively associated with PTSD symptoms. Army participants had increased PTSD symptoms in all but the most senior ranks.  Need for better understanding of the interaction between service, rank and PTSD to elucidate potential shared social and psychological underpinnings is required.  

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