Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Maureen W. Groer


depression, female veterans, parasitic infection, PTSD


The number of female veterans is increasing daily. Previous research conducted on veterans has focused primarily on males or with small samples of females. Depression and suicidality are becoming increasingly evident in returning veterans. Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular parasite that is common in the Middle East and has been reported to cause changes in personality and behavior.

The purpose of the current study was to examine relationships between T. gondii antibody titer and socioeconomic variables, dysphoric moods, and risk-taking behaviors in a sample of 70 female veterans. Blood samples were collected and analyzed for T. gondii antibody titer and participants completed a battery of questionnaires, including the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) scale, Profile of Mood States (POMS), PTSD Checklist- Military version (PCL-M), Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT), and a sexual harassment and assault questionnaire.

Results of chi-squares showed a relationship between T. gondii titer, ethnicity, marital status, and level of education. Pearson's correlations and t-tests showed relationships between T. gondii titer and POMS depression, confusion, and anger subscales, and total mood disturbance scores.