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Direct and indirect relationships among posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, hostility, anger, and verbal and physical aggression in returning veterans [2019]

Hostility, anger, and aggression are conceptually related but unique constructs found to occur more often among veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than among civilians or veterans without PTSD. However, the pathways between PTSD, depression, hostility, anger, and aggression have not been comprehensively characterized. Therefore, drawing on a sample of returning Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom combat veterans ( N = 175; 95% male; mean age 30 years), this study sought to examine the direct and indirect relationships among PTSD, depression, hostility, anger, and four types of aggression: verbal, and physical toward self, others, and objects. Functional modeling of direct effects was done using multiple least‐squares regression and bootstrapped mediation analyses were carried out to test indirect effects. Results indicate that PTSD is not the overall direct contributor to different forms of aggression, supporting the mediating role of depression and trait anger. Depression symptoms explain part of the relationships between PTSD and verbal aggression, physical aggression toward objects, and physical aggression toward self and trait anger explains part of the relationships between PTSD and verbal aggression, physical aggression toward objects, and physical aggression toward others. Our findings support the importance of assessing for anger, depression, and different types of aggression among veterans presenting for PTSD treatment to develop individualized treatment plans that may benefit from early incorporation of interventions.

Vinnu Bhardwaj Abigail C. Angkaw Massimo Franceschetti Ramesh Rao Dewleen G. Baker
Aggressive Behavior, 05 March 2019
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