Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 51, Issue 8, pp 1149–1157 | Cite as

Family, friends, and 12-month PTSD among African Americans

  • Ann W. Nguyen
  • Linda M. Chatters
  • Robert Joseph Taylor
  • Debra Siegel Levine
  • Joseph A. Himle
Original Paper



Despite a growing literature on the influence of social support on mental health, little is known about the relationship between social support and specific psychiatric disorders for African Americans, such as PTSD. This study investigated the relationship between social support, negative interaction with family and 12-month PTSD among African Americans.


Analyses were based on a nationally representative sample of African Americans from the National Survey of American Life (n = 3315). Social support variables included emotional support from family, frequency of contact with family and friends, subjective closeness with family and friends, and negative interactions with family.


Results indicated that emotional support from family is negatively associated with 12-month PTSD while negative interaction with family is predictive of 12-month PTSD. Additionally, a significant interaction indicated that high levels of subjective closeness to friends could offset the impact of negative family interactions on 12-month PTSD.


Overall, study results converged with previously established findings indicating that emotional support from family is associated with 12-month PTSD, while, negative interaction with family is associated with increased risk of 12-month PTSD. The findings are discussed in relation to prior research on the unique association between social support and mental health among African Americans.


PTSD Family Friendships African Americans Informal social support 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ann W. Nguyen
    • 1
  • Linda M. Chatters
    • 2
  • Robert Joseph Taylor
    • 3
  • Debra Siegel Levine
    • 4
  • Joseph A. Himle
    • 3
  1. 1.Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging, School of Social WorkUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.School of Public Health, School of Social WorkUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.School of Social WorkUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.VA Serious Mental Illness Treatment Resource and Evaluation Center (SMITREC)Ann ArborUSA

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