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PTSD Symptom Trajectories in a 16-month COVID-19 Pandemic Period

A new study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress/Early View, examined posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom trajectories in a 16-month COVID-19 pandemic period. The study was co-authored, by Denise Hien, PhD, ABPP, Margaret Swarbrick, PhD, FAOTA, Alex Bauer, PhD. and colleagues.  Researchers tracked PTSD symptoms among trauma-exposed individuals in the United States and sought to identify population-based variability in PTSD symptom trajectories and understand what, if any, early pandemic experiences predicted one trajectory versus others.  The study identified symptom trajectories for individuals who resided in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic and who reported at least one potentially traumatic experience in their lifetime. Four trajectories were identified as resilient, recurring, recovering, and chronic. Emotional and physical health problems and positive changes associated with the early phase of the pandemic were each significant predictors of trajectory membership over and above all other variables in the model.  Distinct PTSD symptom trajectories during the COVID-19 pandemic suggest a need for targeted efforts to help individuals at most risk for ongoing distress.

Click here to access the study itself and for more information