Studies on PTSD Essay

Excerpt from Essay :


Developing and Supporting a Research Question on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Various occupations expose practitioners to traumatized communities or victimized individuals. The exposure increases the risk of these groups to significant levels of stress that affect their health and health outcomes negatively. Empirical evidence shows that people such as clinicians working with those in pain, fear, and suffering have a high risk of developing cognitive, emotional, and physical consequences. Whether exposure to a traumatic event is a disaster or occupational hazards, the consequences of such exposure might present with symptoms of sleeplessness, nightmares, hopelessness, and other forms of stress traumatic disorders (Engel, Schutt, & Engel, 2010). However, exposure to extreme levels of such stress predisposes the individuals to post-traumatic stress the presents over time, unless a corrective action is taken. Therefore, it is at this level that the role of the social worker becomes apparent. The social workers provide services that improve the health outcomes of the individuals affected by the PTSD. Among the vital functions, include the provision of psychological care such as psychological counseling and monitoring employee work environment to ensure their health and safety.

Structure of the research paper

This paper aims to develop a research question basing on three studies conducted on areas related to social work and PTSD as a condition in focus. The research paper will begin by reviewing the three articles critically to aid in the formulation of a research question. It then discusses the importance of PTSD to the social work practice in relation to the vulnerable population identified. The research paper will identify and discuss in brief the detailed areas identified for the analysis. Basing on the analysis, the paper, will also describe ways in which the analysis led to the formulation of a new research question for the assignment. Finally, the research paper will end by positioning the newly formulated research questions regarding areas like problem formulation, research hypothesis, research theory and methods the research will uphold research ethics.

Critical review of the articles

Koenen, K.C., Stellman, J.M., Stellman, S.D., & Sommer Jr., J.F. (2003). Risk Factors

for Course of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Vietnam Veterans: A 14-Year

Follow- Up of American Legionnaires. Journal of Consulting and Clinical

Psychology, 71(6), 980 -- 986

Brief summary of the article

The research determines the course of PTSD among the Vietnam veterans who took part in the Vietnam War in the South-East Asia. The exposure to the Vietnam War provides an explanation to the factors influencing the course of PTSD among the participants of the Vietnam War. The authors of this article provide an analysis of the PTSD using vast literature alongside using the Diagnostic Manual Tool (DSM-IV) to provide a clear understanding of the topic. In addition, the authors provide an analysis of different researches conducted to determine the prevalence rate of PTSD among the participants of the Vietnamese War. The authors recognize that little has been done to determine the course of the PTSD among these participants hence, the need for their study. They attempt to determine the course of PTSD by using following up 1377 veterans with combat scores who served in the Vietnam War between the years 1961-1975.


The authors of the study did not overtly state the hypothesis of their study. However, the reader can infer the hypothesis basing on the expectations of the authors from the study. For instance, one can infer from the study that the authors hypothesized that the Vietnamese Veterans exposed to high combat showed significant course of PTSD. Lack of community involvement of the Vietnamese veterans provides a significant prediction of the course of the PTSD. In addition, one can hypothesize from the study that lack of community involvement of the veterans alongside discomfort associated with disclosing the experiences provided a significant prediction of the course of PTSD.

Sources of data and methods of collection

Koene et al. (2003) used a cohort study on 1377 veterans of Vietnam War, who served between the years 1961-975 for the study. They conducted a survey using questionnaires that aimed at providing information related to the course of PTSD among the veterans of the Vietnam War. Dependent variables used in the study were stated clearly in the tables of the study findings. Despite using questionnaires, they did not quote the study questions in the article.

Method of analysis

The analysis of the collected information was carried out using ANOVA to compare the various variables such as risk factors for PTSDs and Likert scale to determine the responses related to information leading to the identification of the course of post-traumatic-traumatic stress disorder.

Major findings

Koene et al. (2003) found from the study that the risk factors for PTSD between 1961 and 1975 were 11.8%, which reduced after 1975 to 10.5%. Veterans had a high risk of developing PTSD between the years 1961-1975 (14 times) than the later years (2 times).

Factors such as level of combat exposure, negative attitude of the community members to the veterans, anger, and depression symptoms were found to predispose the veterans to PTSD.


Despite the limitations and challenges that faced the study, to authors provided several conclusions and recommendations for future study into the topic. The authors concluded that events such as high combat exposure, lack of their involvement in community related activities, and fear of disclosure were found to play a significant role in predisposing the participants to PTSD. Koene et al. (2003) recommends future researches to be conducted to determine the roe of anger and depression in maintaining PTSDs among the veterans.

Widom, C.S. (1999). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Abused and Neglected Children

Grown Up. American Journal of Psychiatry, 156(8), 1223 -- 1229.

Brief summary of the article

Widom (1999) determines the extent to which abusing children and neglecting their basic needs predisposes them to PTSDs. Widom (1999) also aimed to determine the relationship between PTSDs with individuals or family lifestyle features associated with childhood victimization. The authors identify that most of the researches conducted in the past have focused on behavioral changes associated with neglect and abuse of the children, hence, the need for the study to determine the relationship between post-traumatic-stress disorder and childhood abuse and neglect.


Widom (1999) did not overtly state the hypothesis of the study. However, it can be inferred that the hypothesis of the study includes children who underwent abuse and neglect develop PTSD.

Sources of data and method of collection

The author of the study used victims of sustained child abuse and child neglect from the year from the years 1967-1971 in the Midwestern metropolitan country. The information was collected by administering two-hour interview to obtain the required information from the victims of child abuse and neglect.

Methods of data analysis

The analysis of the study involved the use of chi-square analyses and Fischer's exact tests. Logistic regression facilitated the analysis of predictor and dependent variables of the study. Ordinary least squares facilitated the estimation of the frequency of occurrence of PTSDs among the victims.

Major findings

The study showed that childhood exposure and neglect increase the risks of children and old people with similar experience to developing PTSD. Factors such as coming from families with problems, families abusing alcohol and other drugs, and large families were found to increase the risks of child abuse and neglect. Predictor of the PTSD included marital problems, alcohol or drug diagnosis, and behavioral problems.


From the study, children who are abused and neglected are at a high risk of developing PTSD. Factors such as families with drug and substance abuse, large families and behavioral problems increase the risk for child abuse and neglect that predispose them to PTSDs. I agree with Widom (1999) when he states that further studies and actions should be taken to promote the provision of the most effective interventions to reduce and prevent incidences of post-traumatic stress among them.

Shah, S.A., Garland, E., & Katz, C. (2007). Secondary Traumatic Stress Prevalence in Humanitarian Aid Workers in India. Traumatology, 13(1), 59 -- 70.


Brief summary of the research

Shah, Garland, & Katz (2007) aimed at determining the prevalence rate of PTSDs among the traumatized populations (Humanitarian Health Workers) involved in the provision of care and aid to the traumatized populations. The author begins by the analysis of different literature that focuses on determining the influence of various occupations on the psychology of individuals involved. Basing on the analysis from different literatures, the authors postulate that factors such as female gender, age (40-60 years), psychiatric history, poverty, and ethnic minority predispose people to PTSD. As such, the study aimed at determining the rates of reported posttraumatic disorders in health aid workers in Gajurat, India.

Hypothesis of the study

The authors of the article did not overtly state the hypothesis of the study. However, Shah, Garland, & Katz (2007) expectations provide inferred hypothesis of the study. The inferred hypothesis includes; health aid workers experiences predispose them to PTSDs, and lack of social supports to the health aid workers influences…

Sources Used in Document:


Corby, B. (2006). Applying research in social work practice. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Engel, R.J., Schutt, R.K., & Engel, R.J. (2010). Fundamentals of social work research. Los n Angeles: SAGE.

Engel, R.J., & Schutt, R.K. (2011). The practice of research in social work. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Epstein, I. (2010). Clinical data-mining: Integrating practice and research. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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