Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 423–433 | Cite as

Treatment-related reductions in PTSD and changes in physical health symptoms in women

  • Jillian C. Shipherd
  • Gretchen Clum
  • Michael Suvak
  • Patricia A. Resick


This study examined the relationship between change in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms over the course of PTSD treatment and the association with changes in general physical health symptoms. Both positive health habits (e.g., exercise) and negative (e.g., smoking), were examined to determine if they accounted for the association between changes in PTSD severity over time and changes in physical health. Participants were 150 women seeking treatment for PTSD. Latent growth curve modeling indicated a substantial relationship (R 2 = 34 %) between changes in PTSD and changes in physical health that occurred during and shortly following treatment for PTSD. However, there was no evidence to suggest that changes in health behaviors accounted for this relationship. Thus, PTSD treatment can have beneficial effects on self-reported physical health symptoms, even without direct treatment focus on health per se, and is not accounted for by shifts in health behavior.


Health Cognitive behavioral therapy Health habits Allostatic load Posttraumatic stress disorder 



This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (2-R01-MH51509), in a grant awarded to Patricia A. Resick entitled “Cognitive Processes in PTSD: Treatment II”.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jillian C. Shipherd
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gretchen Clum
    • 3
  • Michael Suvak
    • 1
    • 4
  • Patricia A. Resick
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Women’s Health Sciences Division (116B-3)VA Boston Healthcare System, National Center for PTSDBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral SciencesTulane University School of Public Health and Tropical MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologySuffolk UniversityBostonUSA

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