Effects of a Vietnam War Memorial pilgrimage on veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder

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We compared the scores of Vietnam veterans in treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder on the Mississippi Scale for Combat-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder just before, just after, and 6 months after they participated in a pilgrimage to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC. Significant short-term improvement was reported on Mississippi total scores and on 10 of its 35 items. The number of items showing significant improvement between the initial assessment and the 6-month follow-up did not exceed chance, but significant variance increases appeared on 8 of 35 items. This suggests that the pilgrimage led to a) short-term improvements on several posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and b) long-term improvements for some participants, but equally large exacerbations for others on a subset of symptoms.

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