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Predicting DSM-5 PTSD symptomatology 6 months to 2 years after burn: The role of early psychological risk factors.

Burns 2024 April 27
BACKGROUND: Major burn injuries may have long-term mental health consequences, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This study extended prior work to investigate DSM-5 PTSD symptoms at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years post-burn as well as the contribution of two sets of early psychological risk factors to DSM-5 PTSD symptoms: Established PTSD risk factors (prior adjustment problems, past trauma, perception of life threat, peritraumatic emotions and dissociation) and theory-derived cognitive factors (negative appraisals of the trauma and its sequelae, memory disorganization, trauma-related rumination, and thought suppression).

METHOD: The current study recruited a sample of 118 adult burn patients (75.4% men, mean age 41.8, mean TBSA 18.3%) consecutively admitted to a large regional burn center in Northern Taiwan, who were assessed at 6, 12, and 24 months following their burn injury.

RESULTS: A total of 11.0%, 5.9%, and 7.6% met probable DSM-5 PTSD at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years post-burn, respectively. The rates rose to 15.3%, 10.2%, and 11.0% using the cutoff method. After controlling for covariates, the regression model with theory-derived cognitive factors explained an additional significant 15.9%, 17.2%, and 17.7% of the variance in DSM-5 PTSD symptoms at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years post-burn, respectively. In contrast, the regression model with established PTSD risk factors explained an additional significant 7.2%, 14.4%, and 10.5% of the variance in DSM-5 PTSD symptoms at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years post-burn, respectively. Of all predictors, negative appraisals of intrusions was consistently and strongly predictive of DSM-5 PTSD symptomatology post-burn across time, followed by prior depression.

CONCLUSIONS: The results underscore the role of early cognitive risk factors in the development and persistence of DSM-5 PTSD symptomatology following burn injury.

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