November 11, 2014
Science Daily/Drexel University
Federal laws explicitly addressing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have overwhelmingly focused on the needs of military personnel and veterans, according to a new analysis. The study is the first to examine how public policy has been used to address psychological trauma and PTSD in the US, providing a glimpse of how lawmakers think about these issues.
"Although trauma and PTSD are serious issues affecting military populations, the raw number of people affected by PTSD includes substantially more civilians simply because the civilian population is so much larger," said Purtle.
"It's almost as if lawmakers didn't want to suggest that PTSD was also a disorder among civilians," Purtle said. "This gives a sense of how elected officials at the federal level might think about the dimensions of this problem, and shows that it doesn't match up with what's known about who gets PTSD."
The emphasis on military personnel in legislation addressing PTSD may reflect the history of the disorder, which first became known through cases in military members and veterans following combat experiences. The federal government's role in providing medical care for veterans could also contribute to the legislation's heightened emphasis on military PTSD in contrast to civilian PTSD.