Yarvis, Jeffrey Scott
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A growing literature addressing the issue of subthreshold posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has appeared in recent years. However, only a small portion of this growing literature base represents empirical investigations of subthreshold PTSD and its implications. Further, the reliance on the categorical and diagnostic models of psychiatric disorders has lead to a lack of investigations into the study of the posttraumatic sequelae that fall short of full criteria for PTSD. Next to the number of symptoms as the main criterion for defining a subthreshold disorder, this investigation seeks to define the extent of impairment, which has been considered the most salient criterion for defining a subthreshold anxiety disorder. Substantial disability, depression and alcohol use as well as a great need for health care has been well studied for veterans with PTSD, but these associations have not been well studied in the subthreshold population. Few studies have examined the role of comorbidty and impairment in veterans with subthreshold PTSD. This study found statistically significant differences between groups of peacekeepers with full and no PTSD on measures of depressive symptoms, alcohol use disorders, and number of physical problems and found statistically significant differences between the subthreshold and no PTSD groups of peacekeepers on depression and number of physical health problems. On each outcome measure the peacekeepers with full PTSD had the most severe scores on the outcome measures, followed by the subthreshold group, and the no PTSD group. The results of this study suggest subthreshold PTSD represents a distinct construct warranting further investigation.