Posttraumatic stress disorder, poor physical health and substance use behaviors in a national trauma-exposed sample.
Both experiencing a traumatic event and PTSD are related to physical health problems (e.g., Schnurr and Jankowski, 1999) and health-risk behavior (e.g., Stewart, 1996). Using structural equation modeling analyses, we examined the interrelationships among number of distinct traumatic event exposures, PTSD diagnosis, physical health, and substance use behavior using epidemiological data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R; Kessler et al., 2004). Results provide some evidence that PTSD mediates the relationship between: (a) number of distinct traumatic event exposures and poor physical health defined by clusters of difficulties with gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, and/or cardiovascular health, and (b) number of distinct traumatic event exposures and substance use behaviors. However, substance use behaviors did not significantly mediate the relationship between PTSD and poor physical health.
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