COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

The relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder and self-reported health problems

Dean Lauterbach, Rajvee Vora, Madeline Rakow
Psychosomatic Medicine 2005, 67 (6): 939-47
16314599

OBJECTIVE: There is increasing awareness that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) influences physical health. The current study used the National Comorbidity Survey (NCS) data to determine if the physical health risk imparted by PTSD was an artifact of a broad range of empirically identified confounding variables.

METHODS: Participants (n = 5877) were administered a modified version of the DSM-III-R PTSD module from the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS). The prevalence of 14 classes of physical disorders was assessed along with six groups of variables predictive of negative health outcomes (demographics, perception of health, stress, health-related behaviors, insurance coverage, trauma/psychiatric history, and neuroticism).

RESULTS: The PTSD group had a higher frequency of most disorders and scored higher on variables predictive of negative health outcomes. To determine if the health risk imparted by PTSD was an artifact of these confounding variables, a mixed direct-sequential binary logistic regression was computed. After controlling for sex, health perceptions, stress, health-related behaviors, insurance coverage, total trauma exposure, total number of psychiatric diagnoses, and neuroticism, persons with PTSD were more likely to report the presence of a disorder.

CONCLUSIONS: Previous scholars have noted that PTSD could affect health outcomes. This study found that after controlling for a wide range of variables predictive of poor health, PTSD was predictive of poor health.

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