Women Veterans & PTSD - Selected Studies


  • Risk and Protective Factors Associated With Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress, Depression, and Alcohol Misuse in OEF/OIF Veterans

  • James, L. M., Van Kampen, E., Miller RD, & Engdahl, B. E. (2012). Military Medicine 178(2), 59-65
  • Abstract
    Military personnel commonly experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), both of which are associated with premature mortality. The present study examined two factors that may play a role in premature mortality—impulsivity and risk-taking behaviors—in a sample of 234 veterans screening positive for PTSD, mTBI, PTSD + mTBI, and controls. Analyses of variance demonstrated that veterans with PTSD, regardless of mTBI status, reported engaging in more frequent risky behaviors and reported a greater tendency to engage in impulsive behaviors when in a negative affective state. They also reported more premilitary delinquent behaviors and more suicide-related behaviors than controls. The present study highlights associations between impulsivity, risk-taking behaviors, and PTSD, and suggests continuity across the lifespan in terms of a predisposition to engage in impulsive and/or risky behaviors. Thorough evaluation of impulsivity and potentially risky behaviors is important in clinical settings to guide interventions and reduce the mortality and public health impact of high-risk behaviors in veterans.


  • Neural network modulation by trauma as a marker of resilience: differences between veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder and resilient controls.

  • James L, Engdahl B, Leuthold A, Lewis S, Van Kampen E, Georgopoulos A. (2013) JAMA Psychiatry (formerly Archives of General Psychiatry) 70(4), 410-418
  • Abstract

    Importance: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and resilience reflect 2 distinct outcomes after exposure to potentially traumatic events. The neural mechanisms underlying these different outcomes are not well understood.

    Objective: To examine the effect of trauma on synchronous neural interactions for veterans with PTSD and resilient controls using magnetoencephalography.

    Design: Participants underwent diagnostic interviews, a measure of exposure to potentially traumatic events, and magnetoencephalography. Setting: US Department of Veterans Affairs medical center.

    Participants: Eighty-six veterans with PTSD and 113 resilient control veterans recruited from a large Midwestern medical center.

    Main Outcome Measures: Multiple regression analyses were performed to examine the effect of lifetime trauma on global and local synchronous neural interactions. In analyses examining the local synchronous neural interactions, the partial regression coefficient indicates the strength and direction of the effect of trauma on the synchronous interactions between the 2 neural signals recorded by a pair of sensors. The partial regression coefficient, or slope, is the primary outcome measure for these analyses.

    Results: Global synchronous neural interactions were significantly modulated downward with increasing lifetime trauma scores in resilient control veterans (P=.003) but not in veterans with PTSD (P=.91). This effect, which was primarily characterized by negative slopes (ie, decorrelations) in small neural networks, was strongest in the right superior temporal gyrus. Significant negative slopes were more common, stronger, and observed between sensors at shorter distances than positive slopes in both hemispheres (P.001 for all) for controls but not for veterans with PTSD.

    Conclusions: Neural modulation involving decorrelation of neural networks in the right superior temporal gyrus and, to a lesser extent, other areas distinguishes resilient veterans from those with PTSD and is postulated to have an important role in healthy response to trauma.


  • An Exploratory Examination of Risk Taking Behavior and PTSD Symptom Severity in a Veteran Sample. Military Medicine,

  • Strom, T. Q., Leskela, J. A., James, L. M., Thuras, P., Voller, E., Weigel, R., Yutsis, M., Khaylis, A., Lindberg, J., & Bolton-Holz, K. (2012). 177, 390-396.
  • Abstract
    Military personnel returning from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan commonly experience mental health problems and efforts are underway to determine risk and protective factors associated with postdeployment mental health concerns. This study examined the contribution of trait neuroticism, predeployment life events, combat experi- ence, perceptions of threat, and postdeployment social support on mental health symptoms at 6 months, 12 months, and 24 months postdeployment. Two hundred seventy-one veterans completed self-report measures. Hierarchical regression analyses demonstrated that neuroticism predicted post-traumatic stress and depressive symptoms at all 3 time points; perceived threat predicted post-traumatic stress symptoms at Time 1 and Time 2 and depressive symptoms at Time 2. Social support was a strong negative predictor of post-traumatic stress and depressive symptoms. Alcohol misuse was not significantly predicted by any of the variables. The present study highlights the role of perceived threat and trait neuroticism on postdeployment mental health symptoms and indicates social support is a robust protective factor. Efforts aimed at increasing sustained postdeployment social support may help defend against significant mental health problems among veterans.

  • Diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) based on correlations of prewhitened fMRI data.

  • Christova P, James L, Engdahl B, Lewis S, Georgopoulos A. (2015)Experimental Brain Research. 233(9), 2695-2705


    DSM-5 personality traits discriminate between posttraumatic stress disorder and control groups.

  • James L, Anders S, Peterson C, Engdahl B, Krueger R, Georgopoulos A. (2015) Experimental Brain Research 233(7), 2021-2028


    Neural communication in posttraumatic growth: Differences between veterans with PTSD and resilient controls.

  • Anders S, Peterson C, James L, Engdahl B, Leuthold A, Georgopoulos A. (2015) Experimental Brain Research 233(7), 2013-2020


    Assessing multigenerational legacies of trauma part I: Posttrauma family adaptational styles.

  • Danieli Y, Norris F, Paisner V, Engdahl B, Richter J. (in press) American Journal of Orthopsychiatry


  • Evaluating the dimensionality of PTSD in a sample of OIF/OEF veterans.

  • Frankfurt S, Anders S, James L, Engdahl B, Winskowski A (2015) Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Policy and Practice. E-pub ahead of print: 1-19-2015


  • Development and application of a diagnostic algorithm for PTSD.

  • James L, Belitskaya-Lévy I, Lu Y, Wang H, Engdahl B, Leuthold A, Georgopoulos A (2015) Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 231, 1-7


  • The role of apolipoprotein E in the severity of PTSD re-experiencing symptoms.

  • Peterson C, James L, Anders S, Engdahl B, Georgopoulos A (2015) Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 27, 1-5
© 2016 by the Brain Sciences Center   All rights reserved.      Photo credits     FAQ
Updated March 25, 2016