Structural relations between DSM-5 PTSD and major depression symptoms in military soldiers

Jon D Elhai, Ateka A Contractor, Marijo Tamburrino, Thomas H Fine, Gregory Cohen, Edwin Shirley, Philip K Chan, Israel Liberzon, Joseph R Calabrese, Sandro Galea
Journal of Affective Disorders 2015 April 1, 175: 373-8

BACKGROUND: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) are frequently comorbid. One explanation for this comorbidity is that PTSD has a constellation of "dysphoria" symptoms resembling depression.

METHOD: Using confirmatory factor analysis we tested the role of DSM-5 PTSD׳s dysphoria factor in relation to MDD symptom dimensions of somatic and non-somatic psychopathology. 672 Ohio National Guard soldiers completed DSM-5 measures of PTSD and MDD symptoms in an epidemiological study.

RESULTS: Results indicated that in contrast to other PTSD factors, PTSD׳s dysphoria factor was more related to MDD׳s somatic and non-somatic factors.

LIMITATIONS: Limitations include generalizability to the epidemiological population of trauma-exposed military veterans rather than civilians, and reliance on self-report measures.

CONCLUSIONS: Implications concerning clinical psychopathology and comorbidity of PTSD are discussed, including whether PTSD should be refined by removing its non-specific symptoms.

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