EXAMINING THE INFLUENCE OF PERCEIVED SOCIAL SUPPORT AND UNSUPPORTIVE SOCIAL INTERACTIONS ON PTSD AND SOCIAL SUPPORT SEEKING BEHAVIORS IN OFFLINE AND ONLINE CONTEXTS IN VETERANS
Pedersen, Hannah Corlin
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As service members return home from active duty, the number of veterans seeking attention for PTSD will likely increase. The manner in which society offers or denies support to veterans with PTSD is of utmost importance as they reintegrate into everyday civilian life. The collective support of family, friends, medical personnel, community members and organizations, broadly termed social support, is integral to the reintegration of veterans with PTSD. Among various aspects of social support, in this project, I examined the influence of Positive Social Support and Unsupportive Social Interactions and their relationship to PTSD and to seeking social support seeking behaviors in offline and online contexts.The findings from this study suggest that positive social support is associated with lower PTSD, whereas unsupportive negative interactions are associated with higher PTSD. Further, higher levels of seeking online and offline social support were associated with higher levels of PTSD. Moreover, those had online and offline behaviors were negatively correlated with social support, in essence suggesting the possibility that social support seeking behaviors are intended to make up for gaps in social support among veterans with elevated levels of PTSD.In summary, I argue that communication scholars and other social scientists should examine the role of social support on PTSD in veterans and with the increasing penetration of the Internet and new communication technologies, the comparative study of online social support compares to traditional face-to-face or peer-group support can be a rich area of study.
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