The implications of posttraumatic stress disorder on vocational behavior and rehabilitation planning

David R. Strauser, Daniel C. Lustig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can occur at any age with people who have no predisposing conditions. PTSD is distinguishable from other DSM-IV-TR anxiety disorders as its symptoms develop after exposure to an extreme stressor or traumatic event (i.e. rape, sexual assault, physical violence and war). Research has suggested that individuals with disabilities, especially women, experience higher rates of violence, abuse, and trauma when compared to their non-disabled peers (Watson-Armstrong, O'Rourke, & Schatzlein, 1999), theoretically putting them at increased risk for the development of PTSD. The purpose of this article is to provide a brief review of PTSD and discusses the implications for rehabilitation planning and individual vocational development. The Ecological Model of Career Development (Syzmanski, 2000) is applied to help the reader conceptualize the effects of PTSD on vocational behavior. Specific attention is given to the potential effect of PTSD on the congruence between the individual and work environment. Recommendations are then offered to increase the effectiveness of rehabilitation counselors working with individuals with disabilities who may be experiencing PTSD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-30
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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