Comparing Three Distinct Samples on Traumatic Events, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Dysfunctional Coping Styles

  •  Gary Blau    
  •  Glen Miller    


The purpose of this study was to compare three distinct United States (US) samples on traumatic events, dysfunctional coping styles and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The samples were: civilian (n = 97); non-combat military veterans (n=61) and combat military veterans (n = 91). An online survey was used to collect all the data. The average age across all participants was 29 years old. For the overall combined sample, three avoidance coping styles, venting, denial, and dark humor, were each positively related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Looking at differences between the three samples, the combat veteran sample had more traumatic events (TEs), with the most recent TE being longer ago, then the non-combat veteran and civilian samples. There were no sample differences in PTSD. However, the non-combat veteran sample had higher levels of denial, venting and dark humor in dealing with their most recent TE, than the other two samples. This research draws needed attention to helping non-combat military veterans cope in a more positive way with their most recent TE. Future research directions and study limitations are discussed.

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