A 9-month study on the course of COVID-19 related perceived post-traumatic stress disorder among Italian community-dwelling adults

Journal of Psychiatric ResearchSomma A, Krueger RF, Markon KE, et al. | June 16, 2021

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Researchers aimed at determining base rate estimates as well as the course of COVID-19-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in community-dwelling adults during the pandemic. In addition, they investigated the psychopathology and personality risk factors for this condition. From a sample of 811 Italian community-dwelling adults, they assessed 203 individuals who agreed to participate in a 9-month, three-wave (Wave 1: March 2020; Wave 2: June 2020; Wave 3: December 2020) longitudinal study. At each wave, participants were administered the PTSD scale of the International Trauma Questionnaire (ITQ), DSM-5 measures of acute stress, dissociation, depression and anxiety, as well as a maladaptive personality domain measure at Wave 1. At each wave, COVID-19 related PTSD point prevalence estimates ranged from 11% to 13%; however, this was up to roughly 23% of the participants experiencing clinically relevant PTSD features during 9 months of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy. In multiple logistic regression, they identified experiencing internalizing symptoms (i.e., mostly acute stress) and selected personality features (i.e., Negative Affectivity and Psychoticism) at Wave 1 as a risk factor for PTSD symptoms at later waves. These findings provide further insight on COVID-19 related PTSD and support the necessity for preventive and treatment interventions for PTSD during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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