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Concept: PTSD


PTSD symptoms were pervasive among children and adolescents after experiencing or exposure to traumatic events. Screening and diagnosis of PTSD symptoms is crucial in trauma-related research and practice. The 13-item Children’s Revised Impact of Event Scale (CRIES) has been demonstrated to be a valid and reliable tool to achieve this goal. This study was designed to examine the psychometric properties of the 13-item CRIES in a sample of Chinese debris flood victims.

Concepts: Psychological trauma, Exposure, Exposé, PTSD


Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern coast of the United States in October 2012, causing billions of dollars in damage and acute physical and mental health problems. The long-term mental health consequences of the storm and their predictors have not been studied. New York City and Long Island residents completed questionnaires regarding their initial Hurricane Sandy exposure and mental health symptoms at baseline and 1 year later (N = 130). There were statistically significant decreases in anxiety scores (mean difference = -0.33, p < 0.01) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) scores (mean difference = -1.98, p = 0.001) between baseline and follow-up. Experiencing a combination of personal and property damage was positively associated with long-term PTSD symptoms (ORadj 1.2, 95% CI [1.1-1.4]) but not with anxiety or depression. Having anxiety, depression, or PTSD at baseline was a significant predictor of persistent anxiety (ORadj 2.8 95% CI [1.1-6.8], depression (ORadj 7.4 95% CI [2.3-24.1) and PTSD (ORadj 4.1 95% CI [1.1-14.6]) at follow-up. Exposure to Hurricane Sandy has an impact on PTSD symptoms that persists over time. Given the likelihood of more frequent and intense hurricanes due to climate change, future hurricane recovery efforts must consider the long-term effects of hurricane exposure on mental health, especially on PTSD, when providing appropriate assistance and treatment.

Concepts: Mental disorder, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Prolonged exposure therapy, Sertraline, PTSD, Hypervigilance


Discrimination has been shown to disproportionately burden transgender people; however, there has been a lack of clinical attention to the mental health sequelae of discrimination, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Additionally, few studies contextualize discrimination alongside other traumatic stressors in predicting PTSD symptomatology. The current study sought to fill these gaps. A community-based sample of 412 transgender adults (mean age 33, SD = 13; 63% female-to-male spectrum; 19% people of color; 88% sampled online) completed a cross-sectional self-report survey of everyday discrimination experiences and PTSD symptoms. Multivariable linear regression models examined the association between self-reported everyday discrimination experiences, number of attributed domains of discrimination, and PTSD symptoms, adjusting for prior trauma, sociodemographics, and psychosocial comorbidity. The mean number of discrimination attributions endorsed was 4.8 (SD = 2.4) and the 5 most frequently reported reasons for discrimination were: gender identity and/or expression (83%), masculine and feminine appearance (79%), sexual orientation (68%), sex (57%), and age (44%). Higher everyday discrimination scores (β = 0.25; 95% CL [0.21, 0.30]) and greater number of attributed reasons for discrimination experiences (β = 0.05; 95% CL [0.01, 0.10]) were independently associated with PTSD symptoms, even after adjusting for prior trauma experiences. Everyday discrimination experiences from multiple sources necessitate clinical consideration in treatment for PTSD symptoms in transgender people. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Regression analysis, Linear regression, Gender, Psychological trauma, Gender identity, Sexual orientation, Transgender, PTSD


BACKGROUND: Longitudinal symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are often characterized by heterogeneous trajectories, which may have unique pre-, peri- and post-trauma risk and protective factors. To date, however, no study has evaluated the nature and determinants of predominant trajectories of PTSD symptoms in World Trade Center (WTC) responders. Method A total of 10835 WTC responders, including 4035 professional police responders and 6800 non-traditional responders (e.g. construction workers) who participated in the WTC Health Program (WTC-HP), were evaluated an average of 3, 6 and 8 years after the WTC attacks. RESULTS: Among police responders, longitudinal PTSD symptoms were best characterized by four classes, with the majority (77.8%) in a resistant/resilient trajectory and the remainder exhibiting chronic (5.3%), recovering (8.4%) or delayed-onset (8.5%) symptom trajectories. Among non-traditional responders, a six-class solution was optimal, with fewer responders in a resistant/resilient trajectory (58.0%) and the remainder exhibiting recovering (12.3%), severe chronic (9.5%), subsyndromal increasing (7.3%), delayed-onset (6.7%) and moderate chronic (6.2%) trajectories. Prior psychiatric history, Hispanic ethnicity, severity of WTC exposure and WTC-related medical conditions were most strongly associated with symptomatic trajectories of PTSD symptoms in both groups of responders, whereas greater education and family and work support while working at the WTC site were protective against several of these trajectories. CONCLUSIONS: Trajectories of PTSD symptoms in WTC responders are heterogeneous and associated uniquely with pre-, peri- and post-trauma risk and protective factors. Police responders were more likely than non-traditional responders to exhibit a resistant/resilient trajectory. These results underscore the importance of prevention, screening and treatment efforts that target high-risk disaster responders, particularly those with prior psychiatric history, high levels of trauma exposure and work-related medical morbidities.

Concepts: Psychological trauma, PTSD, September 11 attacks, World Trade Center, United 93, 7 World Trade Center, World Trade Center site, National September 11 Memorial & Museum


Intimate partner violence (IPV) places infants and young children at risk for development of trauma symptoms. However, this is an understudied consequence of IPV because young children pose particular difficulties for assessment of trauma symptoms. The authors collected maternal reports on mothers' and children’s posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and IPV yearly, from ages 1 to 7. Approximately half of the children exposed to IPV at each time period developed some trauma symptoms, and frequency of IPV witnessed was associated with PTSD symptoms. Maternal and child PTSD symptoms were correlated, suggesting that young children may be particularly vulnerable to relational PTSD due to their close physical and emotional relationship with their parents.

Concepts: Psychological trauma, PTSD


Cognitive models of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) posit that negative cognitions regarding the self and the world underlie the disorder. In contrast, scarring models - which postulate that distress brings about an elevation in vulnerability - predict the inverse relationship. Both models were tested amongst 156 Israeli trauma victims. Participants were assessed for PTSD symptoms and trauma-related cognitions (negative thoughts regarding self and world) over 2 weeks (T1), 4 weeks (T2), and 12 weeks (T3) following the traumatic event. A cross-lagged structural equation modeling analysis yielded evidence for both cognitive vulnerability and scarring. Baseline PTSD was prospectively associated with an increase in negative cognitions regarding both the self and the world during the T1-T2 period. Negative cognitions regarding the self were prospectively associated with an increase in PTSD symptoms during both T1-T2 and T2-T3 periods. PTSD symptoms and negative cognitions regarding the self thus appear to form a vicious cognitive-symptomatic cycle which might impede recovery.

Concepts: Psychological trauma, Menstrual cycle, Complex post-traumatic stress disorder, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Stress, Traumatology, PTSD


OBJECTIVES: In comparison to other traumatic events, the impact of a childhood during war on resilience later in life has been seldom examined. The aim of this study was therefore to examine the long term outcomes of post-traumatic responses and resilience of a sample of adult Indigenous Quechua women, who were girls or adolescents during the Peruvian armed conflict (1980-1995). METHODS: The study instruments (Harvard Trauma Questionnaire Part I and IV; Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale; Life Stress Questionnaire) were translated to Quechua and cross-culturally validated. A cross sectional survey design was used in 2010 to collect data from a convenience sample of 75 participants (25-45 years old) in Ayacucho, Peru, the region most affected by the conflict. Data was examined using hierarchical regression analyses. RESULTS: Participants reported extreme exposure to violence (e.g., sexual violence, torture, combat, death of family members, and forced displacement) during the armed conflict, but surprisingly, only 5.3% reported a current level of symptoms that may indicate a possible post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Resilience scores and number of years exposed to conflict as a child were not associated with PTSD symptoms; instead only the degree of exposure to violence, and current level of stress contributed to the variance of PTSD-related symptoms. Conversely, resilience and current stress contributed to the variance of trauma symptoms when measured by local idioms of distress. CONCLUSIONS: Findings should be interpreted with caution, due to limitations in the content validity of instruments, risk of inaccurate recall, use of individual explanations of distress (such as PTSD) for collective experiences of violence, use of non-indigenous frameworks to examine Indigenous resilience, and other methodological concerns. The study however highlights the high degree of traumatic exposure of these former war children. While the prevalence of potential PTSD was astonishingly low in this sample, a number of women still suffer from significant distress two decades after the traumatic events. Therefore, post-conflict interventions should renew efforts to foster the resilience of marginalized populations disproportionately targeted by violence and advocate for enhanced protection of women and children in current armed conflicts.

Concepts: Psychological trauma, Violence, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Prolonged exposure therapy, Rape, PTSD, War, Peru


Finklestein, M., Laufer, A. & Solomon, Z. (2012). Coping strategies of Ethiopian immigrants in Israel: Association with PTSD and dissociation. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 53, 490-498. The aim of this study was to examine the relations between coping strategies, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and dissociation among Jewish Ethiopian refugees in Israel (following exposure to pre-, peri- and post-migration stressful events). Method: A random sample (N = 478) of three waves of refugees took part in the research (N = 165; N = 169; N = 144). Religiosity, coping strategies, stressful and traumatic events, pre- and peri- migration, post-migration difficulties, posttraumatic symptoms, and dissociation were assessed. Results: A significant relationship was found between PTSD symptoms and avoidance coping over and above immigration wave and traumatic events. Dissociation was positively associated with passivity and antisocial coping and negatively associated with social joining and level of religiosity, over and above immigration wave and traumatic events. The findings are discussed in the light of the coping strategies employed by Ethiopian refugees.

Concepts: Psychological trauma, Immigration, Abnormal psychology, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Prolonged exposure therapy, Refugee, PTSD, Vietnam War


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is difficult to treat and current PTSD treatments are not effective for all people. Despite limited evidence for its efficacy, some clinicians have implemented biofeedback for PTSD treatment. As a first step in constructing an effective biofeedback treatment program, we assessed respiration, electroencephalography (EEG) and heart rate variability (HRV) as potential biofeedback parameters for a future clinical trial. This cross-sectional study included 86 veterans; 59 with and 27 without PTSD. Data were collected on EEG measures, HRV, and respiration rate during an attentive resting state. Measures were analyzed to assess sensitivity to PTSD status and the relationship to PTSD symptoms. Peak alpha frequency was higher in the PTSD group (F(1,84) = 6.14, p = 0.01). Peak high-frequency HRV was lower in the PTSD group (F(2,78) = 26.5, p < 0.00005) when adjusting for respiration rate. All other EEG and HRV measures and respiration were not different between groups. Peak high-frequency HRV and peak alpha frequency are sensitive to PTSD status and may be potential biofeedback parameters for future PTSD clinical trials.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Medical statistics, Effectiveness, Psychological trauma, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD, United States Department of Veterans Affairs


Objective: Recent data have supported the use of an early exposure intervention to promote a reduction in acute stress and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms after trauma exposure. The present study explored a comprehensive predictive model that included history of trauma exposure, dissociation at the time of the trauma and early intervention, and physiological responses (cortisol and heart rate) to determine which variables were most indicative of reduced PTSD symptoms for an early intervention or treatment as usual. Method: Participants (n = 137) were randomly assigned to the early intervention condition (n = 68) or assessment-only condition (n = 69) while receiving care at the emergency department of a Level 1 trauma center. Follow-up assessments occurred at 4 and 12 weeks posttrauma. Results: Findings suggested that dissociation at the time of the 1st treatment session was associated with reduced response to the early intervention. No other predictors were associated with treatment response. For treatment as usual, cortisol levels at the time of acute care and dissociation at the time of the traumatic event were positively associated with PTSD symptoms. Conclusions: Dissociation at the time at which treatment starts may indicate poorer response to early intervention for PTSD. Similarly, dissociation at the time of the event was positively related to PTSD symptoms in those who received treatment as usual. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Cortisol, Psychological trauma, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Prolonged exposure therapy, Stress, Trauma center, PTSD