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Predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder after burn injury
Am J Psychiatry 1992;149:931-935.
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OBJECTIVE: The authors' goal was to examine subjective and objective predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). METHOD: Hospitalized burn patients were assessed 1 week after injury with both objective predictors (percent of burned area and facial disfigurement) and subjective predictors (emotional distress and perceived social support). The patients were then assessed 2, 6, and 12 months later for development of PTSD. RESULTS: Among 51 patients, 18 (35.3%) met PTSD criteria at 2 months. High rates of PTSD were also found at 6 months (N = 16, 40.0% of the 40 available patients) and 12 months (N = 14, 45.2% of the 31 available patients). PTSD was predicted by subjective variables assessed at baseline, but patients with more severe burns were not more likely to develop PTSD. CONCLUSIONS: The DSM-III-R diagnosis of PTSD relies on an objective evaluation of the stressor's severity. The prospective data in this study support those who argue that evaluations of the severity of the stressor might also take into account subjective factors.

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