Distinguishing late-onset stress symptomatology from posttraumatic stress disorder in older combat veterans

Article

This article examines the influence of military service, particularly combat exposure, on the aging process amongst US Veterans.

Abstract

Objective: To assess the discriminant validity of late-onset stress symptomatology (LOSS) in terms of its distinction from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Method: The LOSS Scale, PTSD Checklist – Civilian Version, and related psychological measures were administered to 562 older male combat veterans via a mailed questionnaire. Analyses focused on: (a) comparing associations of LOSS and PTSD with other psychological variables and (b) examining a hypothesized curvilinear relationship between LOSS and PTSD scores. Results: Compared to PTSD, LOSS was more strongly associated with concerns about retirement and less strongly associated with depression, anxiety, sense of mastery, and satisfaction with life. LOSS also demonstrated a curvilinear relationship with PTSD, such that the positive association between LOSS and PTSD diminished at higher levels of PTSD. Conclusion: LOSS is conceptually and statistically more strongly associated with a normative late-life stressor than is PTSD, but is less strongly related to mental health symptoms and emotional well-being. Additionally, LOSS seems more related to subthreshold PTSD than it is to clinically significant PTSD. The present findings support the discriminant validity of LOSS.

Full Reference

Potter, C.M.; Pless Kaiser, A., King, L.A., King, D.W,., Davison, E.H., Seligowaski, A.V, Brady, C.B.,Spiro, A. 2013. Distinguishing late-onset stress symptomatology from posttraumatic stress disorder in older combat veterans. Aging & Mental Health, 17:2, 173-179.