Vulnerability-Stress Factors in Development of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

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Log-linear %2 analyses were conducted to examine potential interactions between the presence of precrime axis I psychiatric diagnoses and differential levels of crime stress in association with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a community sample of 295 female crime victims. High crime stress was defined as crime that included either perceived life threat, actual injury, or completed rape. Crime stress level was significantly associated with PTSD after the crime. Thirty-five percent of subjects with high crime stress exposure met criteria for PTSD, as opposed to 13% of those with low crime stress exposure. Precrime diagnosis was not associated with high crime stress exposure, indicating that this is not a vulnerability factor for exposure to crime characteristics associated with increased rates of PTSD. There were no significant independent associations between precrime axis I diagnoses and PTSD after the crime. However, a significant interaction was observed among crime stress level, precrime depression, and PTSD such that the rate of PTSD was substantially higher in association with precrime depression only in the high crime stress exposure group. Major findings are consistent with previous results implicating trauma exposure as the primary factor in development of PTSD. However, the results indicate that precrime depression may constitute a vulnerability factor for development of PTSD under conditions of high crime stress exposure.

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