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J Health Psychol. 2011 May;16(4):678-87. doi: 10.1177/1359105310386823. Epub 2011 Feb 23.

PTSD after traumatic injury: an investigation of the impact of injury severity and peritraumatic moderators.

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Department of Psychology, 118 Kent Hall, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242, USA.


Presence of injury is often examined as a risk factor for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); however, results have been mixed regarding the relationship between injury severity and PTSD symptoms (PTSS). The present study examined subjective and objective injury severity ratings in traumatic injury victims to determine if they differentially predict PTSS. Results demonstrated that subjective, not objective, injury severity predicted PTSS at six weeks and three months post-trauma. The moderating impact of peritraumatic factors was also examined. Peritraumatic dissociation moderated the impact of subjective injury severity on PTSS. Findings indicate that subjective injury severity should be incorporated into early screeners for PTSD risk.

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