Galea, Sandro, J. Ahern, M. Tracy, A. Hubbard, M. Cerda, E. Goldmann, and D. Vlahov. 2008. "Longitudinal determinants of posttraumatic stress in a population-based cohort study." Epidemiology, 19(1): 47-54.
Posttraumatic stress disorder is a prevalent and disabling psychologic pathology. Longitudinal research on the predictors of posttraumatic stress symptomatology is limited. We recruited 2,752 participants to a prospective, population-based cohort study by conducting a telephone survey of adult residents of the New York City metropolitan area in 2002; participants completed 3 follow-up interviews over a 30-month period. Censoring weights were estimated to account for potential bias. We used generalized estimating equation logistic regression models with bootstrapped confidence intervals to assess the predictors of posttraumatic stress over time in multivariable models. Predictors of posttraumatic stress over time included on-going stressors, traumatic events, low level of social support, low income, female gender, and Latino ethnicity (compared to white). Our findings suggest that ongoing stressors play a central role in explaining the trajectory of posttraumatic stress over time, and that factors beyond the experience of stressors and traumas may account for sex and ethnic differences in posttraumatic stress risk. Interventions that focus on reducing ongoing adversity may help mitigate the consequences of traumatic events.
Country of focus: United States.