The article under analysis dwells upon the risks and preventive factors of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It has been acknowledged that the majority of U.S. soldiers exposed to combat develop PTSD that can lead to considerable psychological, emotional, and social issues (Seligman et al., 2019). However, pre-trauma characteristics of soldiers have received little attention, although they can play an important role in the development of PTSD protective measures. It is noteworthy that the majority of participants were males with a high-school education or lower, which shows the gaps in research. The purpose of the study was to explore risks and preventive factors for PTSD with a focus on catastrophic thinking among soldiers. Although Seligman et al. (2019) did not provide a hypothesis, they expected to identify a relationship between catastrophic thinking and PTSD development.
The overall number of participants was 79,438 combat soldiers deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq between 2009 and 2013. Seligman et al. (2019) obtained data from the Defense Manpower Data Center’s and soldiers’ medical records. The participants’ catastrophic thinking scores were obtained with the help of the Global Assessment Tool (GAT). The hypothesis regarding the link between catastrophic thinking and PTSD development was confirmed as of this condition considerably increased the likelihood of the development of the disorder in question. Seligman et al. (2019) added that exposure to more than two combat stressors also led to the development of PTSD.
This study unveils important insights into PTSD prevention, but it is associated with certain diversity issues. Almost 90% of the participants were males, which shows an obvious gap as females are underrepresented in the research. Over 70% of soldiers were White, so the impact of certain psychological traits on PTSD development is unknown when it comes to other ethnicities. Finally, the educational level of the participants also lacks diversity as 76.71% of the participants had up to high-school education. All three diversity issues mentioned above require further exploration and proper analysis.
Seligman, M. E. P., Allen, A. R., Vie, L. L., Ho, T. E., Scheier, L. M., Cornum, R., & Lester, P. B. (2019). PTSD: Catastrophizing in combat as risk and protection. Clinical Psychological Science, 7(3), 516-529.