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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a chronic and debilitating disorder characterized by hypervigilance and recurrent, intrusive memories of the traumatic event. Estimates for lifetime prevalence of PTSD diagnoses for United States military personnel vary widely from 10% to more than 30%. The current study aimed to investigate the attitudes and beliefs regarding PTSD and its diagnosis and treatment within U.S. military service members and their families. An online survey was administered to current and former members of the U.S. military and members of their immediate families. The results revealed low levels of mental health stigma and positive attitudes toward treatment for PTSD. However, survey respondents also communicated a belief that the current health care system does not adequately meet the mental health needs of the U.S. military. A clear understanding of the specific attitudes and thought processes surrounding PTSD and its diagnosis may aid mental health professionals in effectively communicating with those in need of their services.


Published CC-BY.

Published as: Thomson, J. L. (2021). PTSD perceptions in U.S. Military members and their families: A qualitative study. SAGE Open, 11(1),