Symptoms and subjective quality of life in post-traumatic stress disorder: a longitudinal study.

PLoS ONE. 2013;8(4):e60991 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0060991


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Journal Title: PLoS ONE

ISSN: 1932-6203 (Online)

Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)

LCC Subject Category: Medicine | Science

Country of publisher: United States

Language of fulltext: English

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Domenico Giacco
Aleksandra Matanov
Stefan Priebe


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Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with substantially reduced subjective quality of life (SQOL). This study aimed to explore whether and how changes in the levels of PTSD symptom clusters of intrusion, avoidance and hyperarousal are associated with changes in SQOL. METHODS: Two samples with PTSD following the war in former Yugoslavia were studied, i.e. a representative sample of 530 people in five Balkan countries and a non-representative sample of 215 refugees in three Western European countries. They were assessed on average eight years after the war and re-interviewed one year later. PTSD symptoms were assessed on the Impact of Event Scale - Revised and SQOL on the Manchester Short Assessment of Quality of Life. Linear regression and a two-wave cross lagged panel analysis were used to explore the association between PTSD symptom clusters and SQOL. RESULTS: The findings in the two samples were consistent. Symptom reduction over time was associated with improved SQOL. In multivariable analyses adjusted for the influence of all three clusters, gender and time since war exposure, only changes in hyperarousal symptoms were significantly associated with changes in SQOL. The two-wave cross-lagged panel analysis suggested that the link between hyperarousal symptoms and SQOL is bidirectional. CONCLUSIONS: Low SQOL of patients with war-related PTSD is particularly associated with hyperarousal symptoms. The findings suggest a bidirectional influence: a reduction in hyperarousal symptoms may result in improved SQOL, and improvements in SQOL may lead to reduced hyperarousal symptoms.