Symptom severity and lifetime and prospective health service use among military veterans evaluated for PTSD

Jon D Elhai, Todd B Kashdan, Jessica J Snyder, Terry C North, Christopher J Heaney, B Christopher Frueh
Depression and Anxiety 2007, 24 (3): 178-84
We used structural equation modeling with 174 treatment-seeking military trauma survivors evaluated for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at a VA Medical Center PTSD clinic to examine relationships among lifetime mental health service use, PTSD symptom severity and medical problems (from self-report), as well as prospective (1-year) mental health and medical care use visit counts extracted from medical records. We discovered an adequate statistical fit to a hypothesized model of previous and prospective health service use, and current PTSD severity and health-related problems. Previous inpatient mental health treatment was significantly related to PTSD severity and prospective outpatient mental health use. However, PTSD severity was unrelated to prospective use of mental health or medical services. Health problems were related to prospective medical service use. Clinical and administrative implications in predicting health care use among trauma survivors are discussed.

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