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J Trauma Stress. 2000 Jul;13(3):465-71.

Distress experienced by participants during an epidemiological survey of posttraumatic stress disorder.

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Centre for Mental Health Research, Australian National University, Canberra ACT, Australia.


We examined the potential for epidemiological studies of mental disorders, specifically of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), to cause further harm to participants involved. Of 1,000 randomly selected Australian Vietnam veterans, 641 agreed to participate in an epidemiological survey. Participants were asked about distress experienced during the interview when traumatic events were raised. Significant distress attributed to the interview was reported by 75.3% of those with current PTSD, 56.5% of those with past PTSD, and 20.6% of those with no PTSD diagnosis. Distress did not affect participants' use of medical services following the interview nor did it affect their willingness to continue participating in the study. We concluded that research interviews about PTSD may cause short-term distress, but found no evidence of long-term harm.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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