The Mediating Role of Social Support on the Relationship between PTSD and Aggression: Examining Racial/Ethnic Differences

Date
2022
Authors
Kilgore, Rebecca
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Abstract

The goals of the current project were 1) to examine whether there were significant indirect effects of social support on the relationship between PTSD severity and both physical and psychological aggression over the course of the deployment cycle, and 2) to determine whether said indirect effects varied by ethnicity. Models consistent with both "Social Erosion" and "Social Causation" theories of the role of social support were examined using a multiple-groups half-longitudinal design using a sample of N = 4120 servicemembers who were assessed both pre- and post-deployment. Results showed that all the autoregressive effects were significant, as was the path relating pre-deployment PTSD and post-deployment social support, providing support for the "Social Erosion" model. Interestingly, social support was not associated with physical or psychological aggression, contrary to studies in the extant literature. None of the paths in the models examined varied by ethnicity. Results indicate that individuals with higher levels of pre-deployment PTSD are at risk for substantial strains within their support networks, and that they should be monitored to make sure family and social relationships do not deteriorate over the course of the deployment cycle.

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Keywords
Social support, PTSD, Aggression
Citation
Department
Psychology