Distinguishing late-onset stress symptomatology from posttraumatic stress disorder in older combat veterans.
Potter CM., Kaiser AP., King LA., King DW., Davison EH., Seligowski AV., Brady CB., Spiro A.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the discriminant validity of late-onset stress symptomatology (LOSS) in terms of its distinction from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). METHOD: The LOSS Scale, PTSD Checklist - Civilian Version, and related psychological measures were administered to 562 older male combat veterans via a mailed questionnaire. Analyses focused on: (a) comparing associations of LOSS and PTSD with other psychological variables and (b) examining a hypothesized curvilinear relationship between LOSS and PTSD scores. RESULTS: Compared to PTSD, LOSS was more strongly associated with concerns about retirement and less strongly associated with depression, anxiety, sense of mastery, and satisfaction with life. LOSS also demonstrated a curvilinear relationship with PTSD, such that the positive association between LOSS and PTSD diminished at higher levels of PTSD. CONCLUSION: LOSS is conceptually and statistically more strongly associated with a normative late-life stressor than is PTSD, but is less strongly related to mental health symptoms and emotional well-being. Additionally, LOSS seems more related to subthreshold PTSD than it is to clinically significant PTSD. The present findings support the discriminant validity of LOSS.