Archives of General Psychiatry | VOL. 69

Emotional Reactivity to a Single Inhalation of 35% Carbon Dioxide and Its Association With Later Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Anxiety in Soldiers Deployed to Iraq

Publication Date Nov 1, 2012


The identification of modifiable predeployment vulnerability factors that increase the risk of combat stress reactions among soldiers once deployed to a war zone offers significant potential for the prevention of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other combat-related stress disorders. Adults with anxiety disorders display heightened emotional reactivity to a single inhalation of 35% carbon dioxide (CO(2)); however, data investigating prospective linkages between emotional reactivity to CO(2) and susceptibility to war-zone stress reactions are lacking. To investigate the association of soldiers' predeployment emotional reactivity to 35% CO(2) challenge with several indices of subsequent war-zone stress symptoms assessed monthly while deployed in Iraq. Prospective cohort study of 158 soldiers with no history of deployment to a war zone were recruited from the Texas Combat Stress Risk Study between April 2, 2007, and August 28, 2009. Multilevel regression models were used to investigate the association between emotional reactivity to 35% CO(2) challenge (assessed before deployment) and soldiers' reported symptoms of general anxiety/stress, PTSD, and depression while deployed to Iraq. Growth curves of PTSD, depression, and general anxiety/stress symptoms showed a significant curvilinear relationship during the 16-month deployment period. War-zone stressors reported in theater were associated with symptoms of general anxiety/stress, PTSD, and depression. Consistent with the prediction, soldiers' emotional reactivity to a s...


Risk For Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Posttraumatic Stress Disorder War-zone Stressors Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms Combat Stress Multilevel Regression Models Current Axis Carbon Dioxide Vulnerability Factor Stress Reactions

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