IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Long-Term Effects of Family Circumstances and Adversity on the Incidence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: The Case of Vietnam-Era Veterans

Listed author(s):
  • Elizabeth Savoca


    (Department of Economics, Smith College)

Registered author(s):

    This paper provides econometric evidence on the prevalence and childhood antecedents of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) using data from a large-scale cross-sectional survey of Vietnam-Era veterans. The empirical strategy accounts for potential errors in the survey PTSD diagnosis using a method that is particularly suitable for secondary analysis of public-use surveys of the health of the general population. The intensity of a veteran’s reactions to war-time stress is higher for middle-born veterans, for veterans whose parents have a history of mental illness and for veterans reared in, what was then considered, nontraditional households. The latter two factors also substantially raised the probability of a positive diagnosis. These findings are consistent with much of the psychological literature on the relationship between family psychopathology and vulnerability to the disease. They are also consistent with much of household economics literature on the relationship between family structure and a person’s achievements. Adjusted for PTSD classification errors, the sample PTSD prevalence rate is high, 18%, but roughly 4 percentage points lower than the unadjusted rate. This result is consistent with recent studies of the biases in PTSD prevalence estimates.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Smith College, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2007-03.

    in new window

    Date of creation:
    Handle: RePEc:smt:wpaper:2007-03
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:smt:wpaper:2007-03. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Elizabeth Savoca)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.