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Whether someone with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) holds a job or not is a major predictor of how severe their PTSD symptoms are, according to a new study. 

The study, the results of which were presented at the American Psychiatric Association 2014 Annual Meeting, showed that about two-thirds of PTSD sufferers are unemployed.

"What this analysis showed was that it was specifically the severity of PTSD symptoms, meaning recurrent memories or reexperiences of the trauma, or going to great lengths to avoid reminders of the trauma those types of core PTSD symptoms that were related to unemployment, more than, for example, depression," study investigator Dr. James W. Murrough, said. Murrough is an assistant professor at the Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience and an associate director at the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Symptoms of PTSD impair a person's ability to function in the workplace and in society and to hold meaningful relationships because of the effect of trauma on the brain and the way one responds to stress and emotional information, said Dr. Murrough.

"We basically compared people with PTSD who were unemployed to those who were employed and asked what was different," Dr. Murrough said. "We asked what the biggest predictor of severity of PTSD was, and found that it was unemployment."

The more severe someone's symptoms are, the more difficult it will be for them to hold down employment.

The study included 104 people who suffered from various forms of PTSD including military combat related- and sexual trauma related-PTSD.

The study was funded by the US Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health.