Posttraumatic Stress IS a Social Disorder

Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type


First Advisor

Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez


PTSD can be a serious stress disorder caused from the aftermath of a catastrophic event such as war. The focus of this research is to look at PTSD from a social aspect. Is PTSD a social disorder just as much as it is a psychological disorder? A great deal of research has been done in the past about how PTSD affects an individual’s brain activity. But what has not been looked at specifically is how it affects those who have been diagnosed from a social standpoint. How do people with PTSD go about their daily life handling their family, job, and friends? What I believe is that PTSD doesn’t simply affect the individual; it affects the individual’s entire social network. This is important because with the information gathered it seems clear that it’s important to include the individual’s social circle when considering treatment. In collecting information to support this I used a strictly qualitative approach by creating a consistent questionnaire that was used when interviewing four people who have been diagnosed with PTSD. The people interviewed were three war veterans and one person who have experienced a traumatic event. A consistent pattern of social instability presented itself in the answers of each participant. That is they all struggled as much socially with their friends, family, and peers just as they did mentally and emotionally with their own selves, here issues of social alienation, repression, and acceptance presented itself. These results therefore support my belief that PTSD is in fact a social as well as a psychological disorder.


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