King's College London

KCMHR and ADMMH publications

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Combat Exposure and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Portuguese Special Operation Forces Deployed in Afghanistan


Several combat- and noncombat-related stressors have been reported in Afghanistan. There is now accumulating evidence that suggests that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is linked to combat experiences; however, little is known about how these exposures might affect elite combat troops. This research aims to evaluate the prevalence of combat and noncombat related stressors, as well as PTSD in Portuguese Special Forces deployed in Afghanistan. Overall, participants reported high levels of exposure to combat and adverse physical conditions but also high levels of within-unit comradeship. The analysis also exposed that 2.7% of the participants reported symptoms compatible with PTSD and 8.8% with compatible partial PTSD. When the authors conducted a binary logistic regression, only the higher levels of combat exposure explained the symptoms of PTSD.