Lipid levels in chronic, combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

Paul Blaney - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Robert Morgan - Committee Member


Recent studies have examined lipid measures in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders, but data regarding how psychological variables may interact with other atherogenic risk factors have been inconsistent. The goal of this study is to assess hyperlipidemia and the frequency of other recognized atherogenic; risk factors in male combat veterans with chronic PTSD relative to a comparable population of non-combat-exposed PTSD-negative veterans with alcohol and substance abuse problems. Previously identified major risk factors for the premature development of atherosclerosis (hyperlipidemia, history of hypertension, history of diabetes, family history of cardiovascular disease, smoking pack years and obesity) were evaluated in 59 residents of a specialized posttraumatic stress disorder inpatient unit and 43 residents of an inpatient alcohol and substance abuse rehabilitation unit. Lifetime and current psychiatric diagnoses were assessed with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, and information on demographic variables, smoking history and family cardiovascular disease history were obtained during a brief supplemental interview. Assessments of TG, TC, obesity (determined by body mass index), family history of cardiovascular disease, and history of diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension for each patient were obtained from medical assessments performed on admission and during their hospitalization. Relative contributions of PTSD status and known atherogenic; risk factors to levels of serum lipids were examined. As expected, PTSD status was a significant predictor of TC and triglyceride levels with age controlled. PTSD status also predicted a significant proportion of the variance over and above that predicted by recognized atherogenic risk factors related to demographics, medical and family history, smoking and obesity.


Psychology, Psychobiology; Psychology, Clinical; Psychology, Physiological

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