Background: The mental health burden of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is high in U.S. military samples. Social support is one of the most robust protective factors against PTSD and a recent meta-analysis indicates that this relationship is even stronger in military samples compared to civilian samples. Yet no meta-analyses have explored factors impacting this association in veterans and military service members (VSMs).
Objective: The current meta-analysis examined demographic, social support, and military characteristics that may moderate the relationship of PTSD severity and social support among U.S. VSMs.
Method: A search identified 37 cross-sectional studies, representing 38 unique samples with a total of 18,766 individuals.
Results:The overall random effects estimate was −.33 (95% CI: −.38, −.27, Z = −10.19, p
Conclusion: Results suggest that social support received from civilians and in the home environment may play a greater protective role than social support received from military sources on long-term PTSD symptom severity. The literature on social support and PTSD in U.S. VSMs would be strengthened by studies examining the association of social negativity and PTSD symptoms.
WMU ScholarWorks Citation
Blais, Rebecca K.; Tirone, Vanessa; Orlowska, Daria; Lofgreen, Ashton; Klassen, Brian; Held, Philip; Stevens, Natalie; and Zalta, Alyson K., "Self-reported PTSD symptoms and social support in U.S. military service members and veterans: a meta-analysis" (2021). University Libraries Faculty & Staff Publications. 45.
Rebecca K. Blais, Vanessa Tirone, Daria Orlowska, Ashton Lofgreen, Brian Klassen, Philip Held, Natalie Stevens & Alyson K. Zalta (2021). Self-reported PTSD symptoms and social support in U.S. military service members and veterans: a meta-analysis. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 12(1), 1851078.