2006 HSR&D National Meeting Abstract
3054 — Childhood Violence is Associated with Aggression and Suicidal Ideation in Males with PTSD
Boggs CD (Durham VAMC VISN-6 MIRECC)
Beckham JC (Durham VAMC, VISN-6 MIRECC, Duke University Medical Center)
Collie C (Durham VAMC)
Yeatts B (Durham VAMC)
Calhoun PS (Durham VAMC HSR&D, VISN-6 MIRECC, Duke University Medical Center)
Straits-Troster K (Durham VAMC, VISN-6 MIRECC)
Butterfield MI (Durham VAMC HSR&D, VISN-6 MIRECC, Duke University Medical Center)
Evaluations of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in male veterans focus on assessment of adult military trauma and related PTSD symptoms. Recently, we reported high lifetime rates of childhood maltreatment among male veterans with combat-related PTSD. Further, PTSD has been associated with a heightened risk of violence and suicidality, and health risk behaviors in several studies. In this study we examined the rates of childhood trauma in male veterans with PTSD to assess the additional influence (if any) of childhood maltreatment on aggression, self-harm, and suicidality in this cohort.
Data were collected from a sample of male veterans (N=240) seen in a PTSD evaluation clinic. PTSD diagnosis was based on the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS). Childhood trauma was assessed using the Traumatic Life Events Questionnaire (TLEQ). We examined two dichotomous trauma variables created from this measure; childhood exposure to violence (CEV) (childhood physical abuse and witnessing family violence), and childhood sexual abuse (CSA). Aggression and suicidality were measured using scales of the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI). The Habit Questionnaire evaluated self-harming behaviors (e.g., cutting oneself, punching a wall). ANOVAS were conducted controlling for effects of PTSD severity, combat exposure, age, and race.
Forty-five percent (N=110) reported CEV. Fifteen percent (N=36) of the sample reported CSA on the TLEQ. After adjusting for PTSD severity, combat exposure, age, and race, CEV was significantly associated with higher rates of aggression (F=4.865, p<.05), self-harm (F=4.065, p<.05), and suicidal ideation (F=5.496, p<.05). However, individuals with a history of CSA did report increased rates of aggression, suicidal ideation, self-harming behaviors, or health complaints when compared to veterans who did not report childhood sexual abuse.
Our results suggest that childhood maltreatment is associated with increased aggression, self harm, and suicidal ideation in male veterans with PTSD.
A history of childhood maltreatment is associated with a heightened risk of aggression to self/other among male veterans with combat-related PTSD. Thus, male veterans with PTSD should be routinely screened for a history of childhood maltreatment, including physical and/or sexual abuse and violence exposure.