A Preliminary Study of the Association Between Traditional Masculine Behavioral Norms and PTSD Symptoms in Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans

Hector A. Garcia, Erin P. Finley, William Lorber, Matthew Jakupcak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


Studies identifying a high prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and low treatment utilization among Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Veterans reinforce the need for a greater understanding of the disorder in this population. Although traditional masculine norms have been found to relate to both help seeking and PTSD among civilians, little is known about their impact on war Veterans. The current study examined relationships between masculine behaviors, using the Masculine Behavior Scale (MBS), and PTSD symptoms in OEF/OIF Veterans, drawing on archival clinical data from 69 patients at an outpatient PTSD clinic. Despite a positive trend, total MBS scores were not correlated with overall PTSD severity. However, the MBS subscale Exaggerated Self-Reliance and Control positively predicted hyperarousal symptoms in a hierarchical regression model. Unexpectedly, the MBS subscale Success Dedication negatively predicted avoidance, suggesting that this masculine norm may serve a protective function against avoidance symptoms. Results suggest that elements of masculinity are related to specific PTSD symptom clusters in ways that may be both adaptive and maladaptive. Implications for PTSD treatment are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-63
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology of Men and Masculinity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011



  • Iraq/Afghanistan War
  • Masculinity
  • PTSD
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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