Military Noncombatants Face High PTSD Risk

By Staff Writer

As military personnel continue to be exposed to trauma in foreign countries, many are returning to the U.S. with symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder PTSD. However, a new study has shown that it may not only be the troops on the front lines who are at risk for this potentially devastating condition.

Researchers from the University of Texas found that even noncombatant personnel who are working in a war zone may be at increased risk for developing PTSD. This may include civilians, contractors and military support staff.

For the study, which was published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, the investigators surveyed a group of active duty servicemen and women. They found that those who did not engage in combat were just as likely to report psychological stress as the troops on the front lines who were engaged in the fiercest fighting.

The researchers said that this is probably because even those who never engage the enemy directly still face threats from rocket attacks and roadside bombings. Additionally, these personnel are often responsible for processing dead and wounded soldiers, which may be stressful. The researchers warned that anyone who has experienced this type of trauma seek psychological help.