The factor: An Archives of General Medicine study found that military personnel with psychiatric disorders or those who suffered traumatic injuries while deployed were more vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), compared to emotionally sound soldiers and those who come home without life-threatening injuries.
The not-so-obvious: Many people in the military may not be fully aware of the psychological risks they face going into combat, and may not be familiar with PTSD. Even though researchers knew mental illness makes you more susceptible to PTSD, they didn’t know how much trauma people have to sustain to trigger it. As it turns out, not a lot. The study found that people with pre-existing mental disorders can develop PTSD even if they’re not physically harmed, and even emotionally stable soldiers can develop PTSD if they’re seriously injured.
The takeaway: All of this evidence can help military officials develop better screening methods to identify those at greatest risk of post-traumatic stress disorder and programs that will help prevent and treat it.