The economic consequences of post-traumatic stress disorder in clients of Veterans Affairs Canada Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
Creator
  • Matteo, Rebecca A.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
Abstract
  • Historically, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was questioned in regard to the reality of the clinical disorder. Largely during the post-Vietnam era, medical legitimacy pushed an agenda to study the condition, and contemporary interests shifted to cost-effective and effacious treatment identification. Although a priority for mental health, clinical approaches to care are not the only need for individuals who face diagnosis. I explore financial consequences of post-traumatic stress disorder in clients of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) to more specifically identify the economic vulnerabilities of veterans in an attempt to inform policy development. As a chronic condition, PTSD requires management over broad periods of time, often outside of the medical complex. Furthermore, a growing number of veterans are young and in search of gainful civilian employment, yet at risk of disrupted work lives as a result of their mental health status. This certainly carries implications for economic well-being. To better understand the relationship between PTSD and economic standing, I build upon current literature to develop two statistical analyses. The first project focuses on describing the relationship between PTSD and income and perceptions of financial security. This sample is marked with health disadvantage at the outset, through connection with VAC services. However, findings illustrate that PTSD holds significant association with economic well-being when other risk factors (including comorbidities) are controlled. This analysis informs caregivers (both medical and non-medical) about the importance of PTSD as a unique health problem with socioeconomic risk among veterans. The second analytic design assesses the specific symptom clusters of post-traumatic stress disorder as they relate to financial outcomes. Specifically, veterans experience symptoms of PTSD without meeting the clinical requirements for diagnosis, thus being left untreated. However, the findings illustrate that symptom clusters of PTSD maintain significant (and distinctive) relationships with various economic outcomes. This supports contemporary psychometric assessments that suggest the diagnostic criteria for PTSD require conceptual revisions. A reconfiguration of diagnostic criteria is supported in confirmatory factor analysis of my sample. I link these findings to targeted policy suggestions for VAC in regard to outreach for veterans with subclinical, yet meaningful, symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
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  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Sociology."
Advisor
  • Marshall, Victor W.
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
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  • Open access
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