Posttraumatic Stress and Physical Health Functioning: Moderating Effects of Deployment and Postdeployment Social Support in OEF/OIF/OND Veterans


Research indicates that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is strongly associated with physical health difficulties, and that social support may be protective for both problems. Social support, however, is often broadly conceptualized. The present analysis explores how Veteran-specific social support (during military deployment and postdeployment) may moderate the relationship between PTSD and physical health functioning. Participants were recruited from a VA Medical Center. Self-report data were analyzed from 63 Veterans (17.46% female; 42.86% white) who had been deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND). Data indicate that military deployment social support moderated the relationship between PTSD and pain (β = 0.02, p = 0.02) whereas postdeployment social support moderated the relationship between PTSD and general health perceptions (β = 0.03, p = 0.01). These findings may be used to better understand the role of support in influencing psychological and physiological processes.

Publication Title

Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease