Psychiatric symptoms and health service utilization in rural and urban combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder

Jon D Elhai, Shannon N Baugher, Randal P Quevillon, Julie Sauvageot, B Christopher Frueh
Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 2004, 192 (10): 701-4
This study investigated differences in rural/urban mental health and service use in veterans with combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Data were obtained from 48 urban and 52 rural residing combat veterans diagnosed with PTSD at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center's outpatient PTSD clinic. Rural and urban groups were compared on health service utilization indices (PTSD, primary and specialty care clinic visits), the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2, the Mississippi Combat PTSD Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Dissociative Experiences Scale. Results indicated a lack of substantive differences between rural and urban combat PTSD patients. The sole difference involved higher dissociation scores among rural patients. Rural combat PTSD patients therefore seem to have similar mental health needs compared with their urban counterparts, with important service delivery implications.

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