The long-term goal of this research project is to identify genes that contribute to or guard against developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and to better understand how genes and life experiences work together to impact PTSD. Inherited traits are passed down from one generation to the next in genes. Genes contain molecules called DNA, which contain the information that determines our characteristics and carries instructions for constructing and operating our body. Most human diseases have an inherited element. In addition, we, the investigators, hope to learn about how genes and the other materials we find in participants' blood relate to other illnesses and behaviors.
The goal of the feasibility project covered by this application is to test the possibility of conducting research on a large number of veterans in order to look at the association between genes and PTSD. We are inviting 1,000 OEF/OIF veterans to participate, of these, we are anticipating approximately 250 veterans who have served in Afghanistan and/or Iraq to participate in this study. Although 250 participants is our target enrollment, we plan to enroll all veterans included in our initial mailings who desire to participate. We do not anticipate this to exceed 500 individuals. This phase of the study is expected to last about one year. Specific aims are: 1. evaluation of sampling methods and participation rates; 2. field testing of assessment batteries including reliability and validity; and 3. evaluation of the proposed DNA collection and storage procedures.