Coping Strategies in War Veterans 20 Years After the Exposure to Extreme Stress

Martina Knežević, Dino Krupić

Abstract


Many soldiers encounter difficulties while transitioning from military to civilian life. Such severe traumatic events may also have long-term effects. Previous studies have shown a strong relationship between coping strategies and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. The aim of this study was to investigate how veterans who were exposed to war trauma 20 years ago now deal with everyday life stressors, and how their current coping strategies relate to the four-factor model of PTSD. A total of 220 male Croatian Homeland War Veterans between the ages of 38 and 75 participated. Questionnaires included Combat Exposure Scale, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist – Military Version and Ways of Coping Questionnaire. Results showed positive association between dysphoria and escape-avoidance coping strategy and negative association between dysphoria and positive reappraisal coping strategy. Given that dysphoria symptoms are associated with the chronicity of PTSD and poorer response to PTSD therapy treatment in war veterans, our results underscore the importance of treating dysphoria symptoms and promoting engagement coping strategies for this population.

Keywords


stress; four-factor PTSD model; coping strategies; war veterans; therapy planning

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096