An exploratory analysis was conducted to assess the effect of exposure to a distal source of extreme trauma on current levels of depression. The purpose of this study was to assess the nature of the relationships among: (1) exposure to the extreme stressor of combat in Vietnam; (2) persistently difficult life conditions; and (3) psychological distress. The impact of various stressors on current psychological distress is evaluated in light of the mediating influence of personal coping resources. Findings suggest that exposure to combat has neither a direct nor an indirect effect on current levels of depression. Exposure to combat was found to affect depression only as it interacts with work-related sources of chronic strain.

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