Research shows the scope of post-traumatic stress among veterans in New Zealand

A new survey unveils the extent of post-traumatic stress (PTS) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among military personnel in New Zealand.

Over 1,800 participants were surveyed by a group of researchers at the University of Otago, all of which were either active-duty soldiers or veterans.

In their findings, it was revealed that one in three exhibited symptoms of post-traumatic stress while one in 10 met the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis. Of the participants with symptoms of post-traumatic stress, the majority were male, of older age, and previously experienced trauma.

“These results suggest that the prevalence of clinically significant PTS is higher among military personnel compared with the general population of New Zealand, where rates are estimated to be 3 percent,” according to researchers.

In soldiers with a greater length of service, researchers found fewer indications of post-traumatic stress. Higher sleep quality and resilience were also correlated with increased time in the armed forces.

Moreover, given these findings, it is indicated that monitoring quality of sleep could aid in reducing post-traumatic stress symptoms among those at risk.

“There is preliminary evidence to indicate that early intervention among military personnel experiencing sleep disturbance may help to reduce PTS symptoms,” the researchers stated.

“Resilience, or a lack of psychological inflexibility, may be a route to improving things; talking therapies, including acceptance and commitment therapy may work, although we need to know more.”

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