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J Trauma Stress. 2012 Aug;25(4):465-8. doi: 10.1002/jts.21726. Epub 2012 Jul 25.

PTSD and depression following armed robbery: patterns of appearance and impact on absenteeism and use of health care services.

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Centre d'Étude du Trauma, Centre de Recherche Fernand-Seguin, Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine, Québec, Montréal, Canada.


Armed robbery is a sudden, life-threatening event affecting the victims' mental health. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) in this population have rarely been studied. The objectives of the study were to assess the occurrence of PTSD and MDD in victims of armed robbery, and to evaluate occupational functioning and use of health care services. Eighty-six convenience store employees, victims of armed robbery, were evaluated within days after the robbery, and 1 and 3 months after. A validated diagnostic interview (SCID-I) was used. Data about sick leave, absenteeism, and use of health care services were collected. The total number of individuals who had PTSD, MDD, or both at any time during the 3 months following the robbery was 1 (2%), 4 (6%), and 5 (8%), respectively, showing that comorbid PTSD-MDD is as frequent as or even more frequent than either disorder in isolation. Individuals with PTSD (with or without comorbid MDD) reported more absenteeism (η(2) (p) = .25) and more medical visits (η(2) (p) = .12) following the robbery. Clinicians and management resources personnel must be alert to the possibility that both PTSD and MDD, either alone or comorbid, can develop in victims of armed robbery.

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