Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 12

PTSD Related Abstracts

12 A Systematic Review of the Transportability of Cognitive Therapy for the Treatment of PTSD among South African Survivors of Rape

Authors: Anita Padmanabhanunni


Trauma-focused cognitive-treatment (CT) models are among the most efficacious in treating PTSD arising from exposure to rape. However, these treatment approaches are severely under-utilised by South African mental health care practitioners owing to concerns around whether treatments developed in Western clinical contexts are transportable and applicable in routine clinical settings. One way of promoting the use of these efficacious treatments in local contexts is by identifying and appraising the evidence from local outcome studies. This paper presents the findings of a systematic review of research evidence from local outcome studies on the effectiveness of CT in the treatment of rape-related PTSD in South Africa. The study found that whilst limited research has been published in South Africa on the outcome of CT in the treatment of rape survivors, the studies that are available afford insights into the effectiveness of CT.

Keywords: South Africa, cognitive treatment, PTSD, transportability

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11 A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders

Authors: Ryotaro Ishikawa


INTRODUCTION: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric label for a collection of psychological symptoms following a traumatic event. PTSD is as a result of a traumatic experience such as rape or sexual assault. A victim may have PTSD if she/he has experienced the following symptoms for at least a month: a) Stressor, b) Intrusion symptoms, c) Avoidance, d) Negative alterations in cognitions and mood, e) Alterations in arousal and reactivity. Studies on the cognitive theory of PTSD emphasized the roles of (a) negative appraisals of trauma memories in maintaining the symptomatology of PTSD, and (b) disorganized trauma memories in the development of PTSD. Mental contamination is primarily caused by experiences involving humans (e.g. violators or perpetrators) as opposed to substances (e.g. dirt or bodily fluids). Feelings of mental contamination may evoke following experiences of ill-treatment, sexual assault, domination, degradation, manipulation, betrayal, or humiliation. Some studies have demonstrated that traumatic thoughts related to sexual assault are particularly strong predictors of mental contamination. Treatment protocols based on cognitive-behavioral therapy appear to be beneficial in reducing the severity of PTSD and mental contamination. Studies on the cognitive theory of PTSD emphasized the roles of (A) negative appraisals of trauma memories in maintaining the symptomatology of PTSD, and (B) disorganized trauma memories in the development of PTSD. We will demonstrate a feasibility study of individual CBT for PTSD and mental contamination in Japanese clinical settings. METHOD: The single-arm trial is a group setting CBT intervention. The primary outcome is the self-rated Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale, with secondary measurements of depressive severity and mental pollution questionnaire. Assessments are conducted at baseline, after a waiting period before CBT, during CBT, and after CBT. RESULTS: Participants are eligible for the study and complete the outcome measures at all assessment points. In our hypothesis, receiving CBT would lead to improvements in primary and secondary PTSD severity. CONCLUSION: We will demonstrate a feasibility study of individual CBT for PTSD and mental contamination in Japanese clinical settings. Our treatment would achieve favorable treatment outcomes for PTSD with mental contamination in Japanese clinical settings.

Keywords: cognitive theory, PTSD, CBT, mental pollution

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10 Review of Current Literature on Use of Prazosin for Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Related Sleep Disturbances in Child and Adolescent Population

Authors: Davit Khachatryan, Shuo Xiang


Numerous published studies on the use of prazosin in the treatment of PTSD-related sleep disturbances in adult population have resulted in updates to the recommendation for prazosin for nightmares that showed its strength of evidence elevated from C to B in the US Department of Veterans Affairs clinical practice guideline. In addition, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine clinical practice guideline gave prazosin a level-A recommendation for the treatment of PTSD-associated nightmares. The aim of this review is to summarize the available literature for prazosin use for nightmares and other sleep disturbances in children and adolescents with PTSD. Method: A comprehensive search for studies on prazosin use for sleep disturbances in child and adolescent population with PTSD has been performed. We looked at MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, AMED, Scopus, Web of Science, and Cochrane CENTRAL databases. Results: Compared to adult population with similar psychopathology, the available literature in child and adolescent population is scarce. Despite increased interest in prazosin in the management of PTSD, only six studies investigating this medication in children and adolescents have been published. Conclusion: A large randomized control trial on this topic is needed for more definite evidence on the efficacy and safety of prazosin in the treatment of nightmares in children and adolescents with PTSD.

Keywords: guidelines, sleep disturbance, PTSD, prazosin

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9 The Ongoing Impact of Secondary Stressors on Businesses in Northern Ireland Affected by Flood Events

Authors: Jill Stephenson, Marie Vaganay, Robert Cameron, Caoimhe McGurk, Neil Hewitt


Purpose: The key aim of the research was to identify the secondary stressors experienced by businesses affected by single or repeated flooding and to determine to what extent businesses were affected by these stressors, along with any resulting impact on health. Additionally, the research aimed to establish the likelihood of businesses being re-exposed to the secondary stressors through assessing awareness of flood risk, implementation of property protection measures and level of community resilience. Design/methodology/approach: The chosen research method involved the distribution of a questionnaire survey to businesses affected by either single or repeated flood events. The questionnaire included the Impact of Event Scale (a 15-item self-report measure which assesses subjective distress caused by traumatic events). Findings: 55 completed questionnaires were returned by flood impacted businesses. 89% of the businesses had sustained internal flooding while 11% had experienced external flooding. The results established that the key secondary stressors experienced by businesses, in order of priority, were: flood damage, fear of reoccurring flooding, prevention of access to the premise/closure, loss of income, repair works, length of closure and insurance issues. There was a lack of preparedness for potential future floods and consequent vulnerability to the emergence of secondary stressors among flood affected businesses, as flood resistance or flood resilience measures had only been implemented by 11% and 13% respectively. In relation to the psychological repercussions, the Impact of Event scores suggested that potential prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was noted among 8 out of 55 respondents (l5%). Originality/value: The results improve understanding of the enduring repercussions of flood events on businesses, indicating that not only residents may be susceptible to the detrimental health impacts of flood events and single flood events may be just as likely as reoccurring flooding to contribute to ongoing stress. Lack of financial resources is a possible explanation for the lack of implementation of property protection measures among businesses, despite 49% experiencing flooding on multiple occasions. Therefore it is recommended that policymakers should consider potential sources of financial support or grants towards flood defences for flood impacted businesses. Any form of assistance should be made available to businesses at the earliest opportunity as there was no significant association between the time of the last flood event and the likelihood of experiencing PTSD symptoms.

Keywords: Flood Resilience, Flood event, PTSD, flood resistance, secondary stressors

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8 The Mediation Effect of PTSD and Aggression on the Relationship of Childhood Physical Abuse and Suicidal Behavior in Homeless People

Authors: Jina Hong, Seongeun Ryu, Sungeun You


Suicide rate among homeless people are much higher than one in the general population. The purpose of this study was to examine the mediating effect of PTSD and aggression in the relationship between childhood physical abuse and suicidal behavior among homeless people. One hundred one homeless were recruited from street and shelters in Korea. Face-to-face interviews were conducted by master’s level graduate students or facility employees of shelters. All participants completed the Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire-Revised (SBQ-R), Life History of Aggression Questionnaire (LHAQ), Primary Care PTSD (PC-PTSD), and Traumatic Life Events Questionnaire (TLEQ). The average age of homeless people participated in the study was 55.2 years (SD = 10.7) with the age range of 30 to 87. Results indicated that PTSD symptoms and aggression fully mediated the relationship between childhood physical abuse and suicidal behavior among the homeless. These findings suggest the need for trauma-informed care for the homeless, and warrant the need for psychological services for PTSD and aggression in order to reduce suicide risk among homeless people.

Keywords: Aggression, Homeless, PTSD, suicidal behavior

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7 Understanding Help Seeking among Black Women with Clinically Significant Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms

Authors: Glenda Wrenn, Juliet Muzere, Meldra Hall, Allyson Belton, Kisha Holden, Chanita Hughes-Halbert, Martha Kent, Bekh Bradley


Understanding the help seeking decision making process and experiences of health disparity populations with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is central to development of trauma-informed, culturally centered, and patient focused services. Yet, little is known about the decision making process among adult Black women who are non-treatment seekers as they are, by definition, not engaged in services. Methods: Audiotaped interviews were conducted with 30 African American adult women with clinically significant PTSD symptoms who were engaged in primary care, but not in treatment for PTSD despite symptom burden. A qualitative interview guide was used to elucidate key themes. Independent coding of themes mapped to theory and identification of emergent themes were conducted using qualitative methods. An existing quantitative dataset was analyzed to contextualize responses and provide a descriptive summary of the sample. Results: Emergent themes revealed that active mental avoidance, the intermittent nature of distress, ambivalence, and self-identified resilience as undermining to help seeking decisions. Participants were stuck within the help-seeking phase of ‘recognition’ of illness and retained a sense of “it is my decision” despite endorsing significant social and environmental negative influencers. Participants distinguished ‘help acceptance’ from ‘help seeking’ with greater willingness to accept help and importance placed on being of help to others. Conclusions: Elucidation of the decision-making process from the perspective of non-treatment seekers has implications for outreach and treatment within models of integrated and specialty systems care. The salience of responses to trauma symptoms and stagnation in the help seeking recognition phase are findings relevant to integrated care service design and community engagement.

Keywords: Culture, Integrated Care, PTSD, help-seeking

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6 An Application of Quantile Regression to Large-Scale Disaster Research

Authors: Katarzyna Wyka, Dana Sylvan, JoAnn Difede


Background and significance: The following disaster, population-based screening programs are routinely established to assess physical and psychological consequences of exposure. These data sets are highly skewed as only a small percentage of trauma-exposed individuals develop health issues. Commonly used statistical methodology in post-disaster mental health generally involves population-averaged models. Such models aim to capture the overall response to the disaster and its aftermath; however, they may not be sensitive enough to accommodate population heterogeneity in symptomatology, such as post-traumatic stress or depressive symptoms. Methods: We use an archival longitudinal data set from Weill-Cornell 9/11 Mental Health Screening Program established following the World Trade Center (WTC) terrorist attacks in New York in 2001. Participants are rescue and recovery workers who participated in the site cleanup and restoration (n=2960). The main outcome is the post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSD) severity score assessed via clinician interviews (CAPS). For a detailed understanding of response to the disaster and its aftermath, we are adapting quantile regression methodology with particular focus on predictors of extreme distress and resilience to trauma. Results: The response variable was defined as the quantile of the CAPS score for each individual under two different scenarios specifying the unconditional quantiles based on: 1) clinically meaningful CAPS cutoff values and 2) CAPS distribution in the population. We present graphical summaries of the differential effects. For instance, we found that the effect of the WTC exposures, namely seeing bodies and feeling that life was in danger during rescue/recovery work was associated with very high PTSD symptoms. A similar effect was apparent in individuals with prior psychiatric history. Differential effects were also present for age and education level of the individuals. Conclusion: We evaluate the utility of quantile regression in disaster research in contrast to the commonly used population-averaged models. We focused on assessing the distribution of risk factors for post-traumatic stress symptoms across quantiles. This innovative approach provides a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between dependent and independent variables and could be used for developing tailored training programs and response plans for different vulnerability groups.

Keywords: Quantile regression, PTSD, disaster workers, post traumatic stress

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5 Trajectories of PTSD from 2-3 Years to 5-6 Years among Asian Americans after the World Trade Center Attack

Authors: Winnie Kung, Xinhua Liu, Debbie Huang, Patricia Kim, Keon Kim, Xiaoran Wang, Lawrence Yang


Considerable Asian Americans were exposed to the World Trade Center attack due to the proximity of the site to Chinatown and a sizeable number of South Asians working in the collapsed and damaged buildings nearby. Few studies focused on Asians in examining the disaster’s mental health impact, and even less longitudinal studies were reported beyond the first couple of years after the event. Based on the World Trade Center Health Registry, this study examined the trajectory of PTSD of individuals directly exposed to the attack from 2-3 to 5-6 years after the attack, comparing Asians against the non-Hispanic White group. Participants included 2,431 Asians and 31,455 Whites. Trajectories were delineated into the resilient, chronic, delayed-onset and remitted groups using PTSD checklist cut-off score at 44 at the 2 waves. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to compare the poorer trajectories against the resilient as a reference group, using predictors of baseline sociodemographic, exposure to the disaster, lower respiratory symptoms and previous depression/anxiety disorder diagnosis, and recruitment source as the control variable. Asians had significant lower socioeconomic status in terms of income, education and employment status compared to Whites. Over 3/4 of participants from both races were resilient, though slightly less for Asians than Whites (76.5% vs 79.8%). Asians had a higher proportion with chronic PTSD (8.6% vs 7.4%) and remission (5.9% vs 3.4%) than Whites. A considerable proportion of participants had delayed-onset in both races (9.1% Asians vs 9.4% Whites). The distribution of trajectories differed significantly by race (p<0.0001) with Asians faring poorer. For Asians, in the chronic vs resilient group, significant protective factors included age >65, annual household income >$50,000, and never married vs married/cohabiting; risk factors were direct disaster exposure, job loss due to 9/11, lost someone, and tangible loss; lower respiratory symptoms and previous mental disorder diagnoses. Similar protective and risk factors were noted for the delayed-onset group, except education being protective; and being an immigrant a risk. Between the 2 comparisons, the chronic group was more vulnerable than the delayed-onset as expected. It should also be noted that in both comparisons, Asians’ current employment status had no significant impact on their PTSD trajectory. Comparing between Asians against Whites, the direction of the relationships between the predictors and the PTSD trajectories were mostly the same, although more factors were significant for Whites than for Asians. A few factors showed significant racial difference: Higher risk for lower respiratory symptoms for Whites than Asians, higher risk for pre-9/11 mental disorder diagnosis for Asians than Whites, and immigrant a risk factor for the remitted vs resilient groups for Whites but not for Asians. Over 17% Asians still suffered from PTSD 5-6 years after the WTC attack signified its persistent impact which incurred substantial human, social and economic costs. The more disadvantaged socioeconomic status of Asians rendered them more vulnerable in their mental health trajectories relative to Whites. Together with their well-documented low tendency to seek mental health help, outreach effort to this population is needed to ensure follow-up treatment and prevention.

Keywords: PTSD, Asian Americans, World Trade Center Attack, racial differences

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4 Flow as a Positive Intervention for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Authors: Sonal Khosla


A research is proposed in the present paper to explore the role of flow in coping with traumatic experiences and attaining post-traumatic growth. A grounded theory research is proposed to be carried by analyzing memoirs of people who have been through trauma. A pilot study was carried out on two memoirs of women who were held captive for over ten years and were sexually assaulted repeatedly. The role of flow in their coping experiences was explored by analyzing the books. Some of the flow activities that were used by them were- drawing and daydreaming. Their narratives show the evidence for flow as having cathartic and healing effects on them. Applicability of the findings can take two forms: 1. Flow can be applied as a preventive technique to help the people who are going through trauma, 2. Flow can be adopted into a positive intervention to help people suffering from PTSD.

Keywords: Flow, PTSD, positive intervention, PTG

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3 Study on the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Its Psycho-Social-Genetic Risk Factors among Tibetan Alolescents in Heavily-Hit Area Three Years after Yushu Earthquake in Qinghai Province, China

Authors: Kun Liu, Xiaolian Jiang, Dongling Liu


Aims: To examine the prevalence of POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD) symptoms among Tibetan adolescents in heavily-hit disaster area three years after Yushu earthquake, and to explore the interactions of the psycho-social-genetic risk factors. Methods: This was a three-stage study. Firstly, demographic variables,PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version (PCL-C),the Internality、Powerful other、Chance Scale,(IPC),Coping Style Scale(CSS),and the Social Support Appraisal(SSA)were used to explore the psychosocial factors of PTSD symptoms among adolescent survivors. PCL-C was used to examine the PTSD symptoms among 4072 Tibetan adolescents,and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Disorders(SCID)was used by psychiatrists to make the diagnosis precisely. Secondly,a case-control trial was used to explore the relationship between PTSD and gene polymorphisms. 287adolescents diagnosed with PTSD were recruited in study group, and 280 adolescents without PTSD in control group. Polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism technology(PCR-RFLP)was used to test gene polymorphisms. Thirdly,SPSS 22.0 was used to explore the interactions of the psycho-social-genetic risk factors of PTSD on the basis of the above results. Results and conclusions: 1.The prevalence of PTSD was 9.70%. 2.The predictive psychosocial factors of PTSD included earthquake exposure, support from others, imagine, abreact, tolerant, powerful others and family support. 3.Synergistic interactions between A1 gene of DRD2 TaqIA and the external locus of control, negative coping style, severe earthquake exposure were found. Antagonism interactions between A1 gene of DRD2 TaqIA and poor social support was found. Synergistic interactions between A1/A1 genotype and the external locus of control, negative coping style were found. Synergistic interactions between 12 gene of 5-HTTVNTR and the external locus of control, negative coping style, severe earthquake exposure were found. Synergistic interactions between 12/12 genotype and the external locus of control, negative coping style, severe earthquake exposure were also found.

Keywords: Earthquake, Adolescents, Risk Factors, PTSD

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2 Neuropsychological Aspects in Adolescents Victims of Sexual Violence with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Authors: Fernanda Mary R. G. Da Silva, Adriana C. F. Mozzambani, Marcelo F. Mello


Introduction: Sexual assault against children and adolescents is a public health problem with serious consequences on their quality of life, especially for those who develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The broad literature in this research area points to greater losses in verbal learning, explicit memory, speed of information processing, attention and executive functioning in PTSD. Objective: To compare the neuropsychological functions of adolescents from 14 to 17 years of age, victims of sexual violence with PTSD with those of healthy controls. Methodology: Application of a neuropsychological battery composed of the following subtests: WASI vocabulary and matrix reasoning; Digit subtests (WISC-IV); verbal auditory learning test RAVLT; Spatial Span subtest of the WMS - III scale; abbreviated version of the Wisconsin test; concentrated attention test - D2; prospective memory subtest of the NEUPSILIN scale; five-digit test - FDT and the Stroop test (Trenerry version) in adolescents with a history of sexual violence in the previous six months, referred to the Prove (Violence Care and Research Program of the Federal University of São Paulo), for further treatment. Results: The results showed a deficit in the word coding process in the RAVLT test, with impairment in A3 (p = 0.004) and A4 (p = 0.016) measures, which compromises the verbal learning process (p = 0.010) and the verbal recognition memory (p = 0.012), seeming to present a worse performance in the acquisition of verbal information that depends on the support of the attentional system. A worse performance was found in list B (p = 0.047), a lower priming effect p = 0.026, that is, lower evocation index of the initial words presented and less perseveration (p = 0.002), repeated words. Therefore, there seems to be a failure in the creation of strategies that help the mnemonic process of retention of the verbal information necessary for learning. Sustained attention was found to be impaired, with greater loss of setting in the Wisconsin test (p = 0.023), a lower rate of correct responses in stage C of the Stroop test (p = 0.023) and, consequently, a higher index of erroneous responses in C of the Stroop test (p = 0.023), besides more type II errors in the D2 test (p = 0.008). A higher incidence of total errors was observed in the reading stage of the FDT test p = 0.002, which suggests fatigue in the execution of the task. Performance is compromised in executive functions in the cognitive flexibility ability, suggesting a higher index of total errors in the alternating step of the FDT test (p = 0.009), as well as a greater number of persevering errors in the Wisconsin test (p = 0.004). Conclusion: The data from this study suggest that sexual violence and PTSD cause significant impairment in the neuropsychological functions of adolescents, evidencing risk to quality of life in stages that are fundamental for the development of learning and cognition.

Keywords: Adolescents, Sexual Violence, PTSD, neuropsychological functions

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1 Secondary Traumatic Stress and Related Factors in Australian Social Workers and Psychologists

Authors: Cindy Davis, Samantha Rayner


Secondary traumatic stress (STS) is an indirect form of trauma affecting the psychological well-being of mental health workers; STS is found to be a prevalent risk in mental health occupations. Various factors impact the development of STS within the literature; including the level of trauma individuals are exposed to and their level of empathy. Research is limited on STS in mental health workers in Australia; therefore, this study examined STS and related factors of empathetic behavior and trauma caseload among mental health workers. The research utilized an online survey quantitative research design with a purposive sample of 190 mental health workers (176 females) recruited via professional websites and unofficial social media groups. Participants completed an online questionnaire comprising of demographics, the secondary traumatic stress scale and the empathy scale for social workers. A standard hierarchical regression analysis was conducted to examine the significance of covariates, traumatized clients, traumatic stress within workload and empathy in predicting STS. The current research found 29.5% of participants to meet the criteria for a diagnosis of STS. Age and past trauma within the covariates were significantly associated with STS. Amount of traumatized clients significantly predicted 4.7% of the variance in STS, traumatic stress within workload significantly predicted 4.8% of the variance in STS and empathy significantly predicted 4.9% of the variance in STS. These three independent variables and the covariates accounted for 18.5% of the variance in STS. Practical implications include a focus on developing risk strategies and treatment methods that can diminish the impact of STS.

Keywords: Trauma, Mental Health, Social Work, PTSD

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