Combat military service and male depression: The relationship between social support, PTSD, and male depression following combat military service

Michael Weinberg, Shai Shorer, Doron Marom, Lihi Cohen, Miri Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Soldiers in military service are at risk of exposure to traumatic and stressful experiences, which can lead to symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and symptoms of depression. In the context of veterans’ PTSD and depression, social support has been shown to be a very significant resource. However, while general depression has been examined among veterans and although combat soldiers are often men, male depression has been rarely examined. Therefore, the present study aimed to examine the relationships between social support, PTSD symptoms, and male depression among veterans. Methods: Five hundred and ninety-five male combat veterans completed a demographic questionnaire and measures of social support, PTSD, and male depression, including the specific symptoms of anger, substance use, social withdrawal, and restricted emotions. Results: Structural-equation-model analyses showed that social support was negatively associated with both PTSD symptoms and depression symptoms. Specifically, social support showed lower trends of associations with substance use and anger; whereas there were higher associations with social withdrawal and restricted emotions. PTSD showed the strongest association with anger. Thus, we can see that social support is a key resource for coping with PTSD and different symptoms of male depression. Conclusion: Greater attention to social support, PTSD, and aspects of male depression could assist the development of intervention and therapeutic programs and also help to prevent the misdiagnosis of depression among military veterans.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Social Psychiatry
Early online date13 Feb 2024
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 13 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.

Keywords

  • Combat veterans
  • male depression
  • PTSD
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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