Combat-related guilt mediates the relations between exposure to combat-related abusive violence and psychiatric diagnoses

Brian P. Marx, Kristen M. Foley, Brian A. Feinstein, Erika J. Wolf, Danny G. Kaloupek, Terence M. Keane

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    50 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Background: This study examined the degree to which combat-related guilt mediated the relations between exposure to combat-related abusive violence and both Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in Vietnam Veterans. Methods: Secondary analyses were conducted on data collected from 1,323 male Vietnam Veterans as part of a larger, multisite study. Results: Results revealed that combat-related guilt partially mediated the association between exposure to combat-related abusive violence and PTSD, but completely mediated the association with MDD, with overall combat exposure held constant in the model. Follow-up analyses showed that, when comparing those participants who actually participated in combat-related abusive violence with those who only observed it, combat-related guilt completely mediated the association between participation in abusive violence and both PTSD and MDD. Moreover, when comparing those participants who observed combat-related abusive violence with those who had no exposure at all to it, combat-related guilt completely mediated the association between observation of combat-related abusive violence and MDD, but only partially mediated the association with PTSD. Conclusions: These findings suggest that guilt may be a mechanism through which abusive violence is related to PTSD and MDD among combatdeployed Veterans. These findings also suggest the importance of assessing abusive-violence related guilt among combat-deployed Veterans and implementing relevant interventions for such guilt whenever indicated.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)287-293
    Number of pages7
    JournalDepression and Anxiety
    Volume27
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Mar 1 2010

    Keywords

    • Abusive violence
    • Guilt
    • Major depressive disorder
    • Posttraumatic stress disorder
    • Veterans

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Clinical Psychology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health

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