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Passage Reading and English Comprehension

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that affects millions of people around the world. Individuals can develop PTSD after experiencing any event that results in psychological trauma. Symptoms of PTSD involve flashbacks to the traumatic event, nightmares, obsessive behavior, anger, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and hypervigilance. Individuals who suffer from PTSD can experience significant difficulties in social relationships, have lower self-esteem, and have trouble maintaining employment. People with PTSD experience a higher risk of committing suicide, developing a drug addiction, and suffering from alcoholism. Although PTSD can affect any individual, military veterans are especially susceptible to this debilitating affliction. Furthermore, within this population, women are more than twice as likely as men to develop PTSD. Studies have also shown that former service women who do develop PTSD experience more severe symptoms than their male counterparts. Recent changes made by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs have improved treatment options for female veterans living with PTSD, but there is still more that needs to be done.

Although studies investigating precisely why women are more likely than men to experience PTSD have not yet been completed, some experts have theorized that low unit cohesion is a major factor. Unit cohesion, defined as the mutual bonds of friendship and support among members of a military unit, is thought to be helpful in reducing the incidence of developing PTSD. According to recent surveys compiled by U.S. Army researchers, increased unit cohesion emerged as the most important factor determining whether soldiers developed suicidal thoughts. Women are more likely than men to experience low unit cohesion for a variety of reasons. One of the most obvious factors is the relative paucity of females in the military; currently, women make up only 20% of the armed forces. Pervasive male prejudice against women is another factor that can diminish unit cohesion for female soldiers. Because women are less likely than men to experience unit cohesion while serving in the military, women are less likely to develop the social support structures that will help prevent them from developing PTSD, depression, or other serious mental health problems.

Another issue at play is the stigma amongst military personnel that asking for help for mental health issues makes one “weak.” A recent Department of Defense study of returning combat troops shows that only 1 in 6 veterans acknowledged themselves to be suffering from symptoms of PTSD, and 3 out of 5 veterans were convinced that their comrades and commanding officers would lose confidence in them if they sought treatment for mental health issues. For women, this hesitation to self-identify as a sufferer of PTSD could be even greater; historically, female soldiers have struggled to be counted as equals to men on the battlefield. Women, stereotypically considered to possess less emotional fortitude than men, may be unwilling to admit that they are suffering from PTSD lest they appear to conform to this stereotype. Unfortunately for those who do not seek help, when PTSD goes untreated it is very likely to worsen over time.

Another challenge is that until very recently, treatment for PTSD has been more difficult for women than men to obtain. Before rule changes were enacted in 2010, only veterans who encountered direct combat experience qualified to receive disability payments for PTSD. Because very few women are placed on the front lines, very few were eligible to receive free treatment for PTSD. However, recent regulation changes have ended these stipulations, allowing women who serve in any capacity to be eligible for benefits.

Even if female veterans are eligible for these benefits, the quality of the care a wartime PTSD sufferer receives can vary widely. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pays disability benefits to service men and women who have been diagnosed with PTSD and also provides these individuals with free health care. But while mental health counseling that comes directly from VA doctors is completely free to veterans, there are often long waiting lists for those who need to be evaluated or treated. Therapy provided by non-VA professionals may not be covered by health insurance. Access to mental health professionals who have been specially trained to treat wartime PTSD is often difficult for those not living near major urban centers.

Perhaps the biggest impediment to achieving quality treatment for women suffering from wartime PTSD is a lack of research. While both the VA and independent agencies have completed hundreds of studies researching the prevention of and treatment for PTSD amongst general military populations, there have been no studies completed that solely target women. Before adequate care can be provided, there must be greater understanding about the root causes of this issue as it affects women specifically. On both the research level and the policy level, more must be done to help the women who have sacrificed so much for their country.

1553. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(a) explain why military veterans are more likely than civilians to develop PTSD
(b) persuade government officials to increase funding for PTSD treatment centers in non-urban areas
(c) denounce the United States military for the way they have handled veterans’ mental health problems
(d) educate readers about the problem of insufficient treatment available for female veterans with PTSD

1554. According to the passage, all of the following are reasons why females develop PTSD more frequently than males except

(a) women experience lower unit cohesion than men
(b) women can face negative stereotypes in the military
(c) women are more likely than men to suffer from depression
(d) males in the military greatly outnumber females

1555. As used in paragraph 2, which is the best antonym for paucity?

(a) certainty
(b) audacity
(c) deference
(d) abundance

1556. Based on information in the passage, it can be inferred that negative stereotypes about women in the military contribute to their increased likelihood to develop PTSD in which of the following ways?

I. Some male members of the armed forces subscribe to negative stereotypes about women; this prejudice may prevent women from forming close bonds with their units
II. Women may be less likely than men to admit to suffering from PTSD because they do not want to conform to stereotypes that portray women as weak
III. Women are aware of the negative stereotypes that pervade the military. This awareness may lead to a reduction in self-esteem

(a) l only
(b) II only
(c) I and II only
(d) II and III only

1557. Based on information in the passage, which of the following statements best reflects the author’s opinion about the mental health care provided for female veterans?

(a) Although the VA has not done nearly enough, state and independent agencies have made up for government deficiencies
(b) The government has done almost nothing to help; the way we treat our female veterans is a national disgrace
(c) Because service women are more likely than service men to develop PTSD, mental health care has been better for female veterans
(d) The amount of care provided has improved over the past few years, but it is still insufficient

1558. Which of the following pieces of evidence, if true, would best strengthen the author’s argument in paragraph 5?

(a) Since 2001, when operations in Iraq and Afghanistan began, more than 230,000 women have served in the United States Military
(b) Studies have shown that those who receive therapy for PTSD are less likely to commit suicide and develop substance abuse problems
(c) Women are 50% more likely to experience sexual assault while deployed than men
(d) Although experts now argue that intensive cognitive therapy is more effective at treating wartime PTSD than prescription drugs, most mental health professionals are trained only to offer pharmaceutical solutions for PTSD

1559. In paragraph 5, the author writes: “Access to mental health professionals who have been specially trained to treat wartime PTSD is often difficult for those not living near major urban centers.” Which of the following conjunctions, used at the beginning of this sentence, would best clarify the sentence’s role in the paragraph?

(a) Furthermore
(b) Incidentally
(c) Although
(d) Nevertheless

1560. Based on information in the passage, it can be inferred that the author is most likely someone who

(a) does not believe women should be allowed to serve in the military
(b) is a mental health care professional
(c) has conducted studies on PTSD among veterans
(d) believes that advocating for others can lead to change

TOTAL

Detailed Solution




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1. Passage Reading 2. Verbal Logic 3. Non Verbal Logic 4. Numerical Logic

5. Data Interpretation 6. Reasoning 7. Analytical Ability 8. Basic Numeracy

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