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Paternal History Linked with PTSD in Veterans

Psychiatry Res; ePub 2017 Jun 16; Shepherd-Banigan, et al

Family history of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may increase PTSD risk among veterans exposed to trauma, particularly when paternal history is reported, a recent study found. Participants were drawn from the US Department of Veterans Affairs Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) Post-Deployment Mental Health (PDMH) study (n=3,191), an ongoing multi-site cohort study of US Afghanistan and Iraq conflict era veterans. Researchers found:

  • Those who recalled a paternal history of PTSD had a 26-percentage point higher likelihood of meeting criteria for PTSD, while participants reporting any family history of PTSD had a 15-percentage point higher probability of endorsing symptoms consistent with PTSD.
  • Maternal history of substance use problems was associated with veteran current PTSD, but results were sensitive to model specification.
  • Current PTSD was not associated with family/parent history of non-PTSD mental illness, maternal history of PTSD, or family/paternal history of substance use problems.


Shepherd-Banigan M, Kelley ML, Katon JG, et al. Paternal history of mental illness associated with posttraumatic stress disorder among veterans. [Published online ahead of print June 16, 2017]. Psychiatry Res. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2017.06.053.