Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Protective and Risk Factors in 18 Survivors of a Plane Crash*

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The aim of this study is to identify protective and risk factors related to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on a sample of survivors from a single plane crash. Eighteen survivors were examined 6 months following the event. The subjects all underwent psychiatric interviews, Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale structured interviews, personality and cognitive tests. Only 38.9% of them presented with all of the symptoms of PTSD; 22.2% showed no symptoms for PTSD; remaining survivors exhibited emotional/affective symptoms related to the event. In addition to the severity of the traumatic event itself, other risk factors identified were the loss of a relative, the manifestation of depressive symptoms, and the severity of physical injuries sustained. Low levels of hostility and high levels of self-efficacy represented protective factors against developing PTSD.

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