Predictors of Pain and Somatic Functioning Following a Combat Deployment
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This study sought to identify prospective and concurrent predictors of post-deployment pain and somatic symptoms in a sample of active-duty United States Air Force (USAF) security forces that had recently returned from a high-risk ground mission in Iraq. Within the military population, nearly half (47%) of OEF/OIF veterans report experiencing pain following a deployment. Pain and somatic impairment are associated with lower quality of life, greater use of health care services, and higher rates of mental health symptoms including suicidality, substance use, sleep problems, anxiety, and depression. Moreover, veterans who have been deployed report more pain relative to veterans who have not deployed, and also report higher rates of somatic symptoms, worse general health, and greater physical and psychosocial functional impairment. Whereas considerable research has examined consequences of pain and somatic impairment, little research has examined psychological predictors of pain and somatic symptom severity. Results indicated that intrapersonal psychological factors, particularly depression and posttraumatic stress disorder, significantly predicted pain and somatic symptoms following deployment. Following deployment, perceived barriers to treatment and difficulty with reintegration significantly predicted greater post-deployment pain symptoms. Interpersonal factors including perceived social support, marital distress, and family reintegration, were not significantly associated with pain or somatic symptoms following deployment. The implications for clinical intervention and application of these findings will be discussed.
Osborne, Laura J. (2015). Predictors of Pain and Somatic Functioning Following a Combat Deployment. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from