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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.

Original publication




Journal article


Aging Ment Health

Publication Date





173 - 179


Age of Onset, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Combat Disorders, Depression, Humans, Male, Mental Health, Middle Aged, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Retirement, Risk Factors, Self-Assessment, Social Adjustment, Socioeconomic Factors, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic, Stress, Psychological, Surveys and Questionnaires, United States, Veterans, Veterans Health