Adverse Childhood Experiences and Combat-Related PTSD

The purpose of this project was to conduct a literature review of the empirical research on adverse childhood experiences (ACE) and combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by examining whether ACE affects combat-related PTSD prevalence and severity, protective factors, as well as current practices for assessing ACE in combat veterans. A literature search to identify studies published between 1987 and 2015 yielded a total of 53 articles that met the inclusion criteria and were reviewed. The existing literature reveals that ACE was experienced by a significant number of combat veterans with PTSD. It further showed that preventive and early intervention assessments and treatments should be implemented for combat veterans upon return from deployment and when seeking treatment for PTSD and PTSD-related mental health problems. Future research should focus on the importance and value of assessment of all lifetime trauma, not simply combat-exposure related trauma. Keywords: posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), adverse childhood experiences (ACE), combat veterans, protective factors, predictors, screening, assessments