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J Psychiatr Res. 2012 Dec;46(12):1576-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2012.07.012. Epub 2012 Aug 17.

Heterogeneity of posttraumatic stress symptoms in a highly traumatized low income, urban, African American sample.

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Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Alpert Medical School, Brown University, USA.


Trauma is associated with a range of outcomes; identification of homogeneous profiles of posttrauma symptoms may inform theory, diagnostic refinement, and intervention. The present investigation applies a novel analytic technique to the identification of homogeneous subgroups of post-traumatic symptomatology in a large sample of African American adults reporting high levels of trauma. Latent profiles of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity were tested using latent profile analysis. Pseudo-class draws were used to characterize class differences across types of trauma, diagnostic comorbidities, and clinically-relevant features. Participants consisted of 2915 highly traumatized African Americans living in low income, urban setting and recruited from medical clinics in Atlanta, GA. Findings supported the presence of six distinct subgroups of posttraumatic stress symptom profiles described as resilient, moderate with amnesia, moderate with diminished interest, moderate without diminished interest and amnesia severe without amnesia, and severe overall. Observed subgroups differed across numerous historical and concurrent factors including childhood trauma, current and lifetime diagnoses of PTSD and major depression, lifetime substance use diagnosis, dissociation, depressive symptoms, emotional dysregulation, negative and positive affect, and history of hospitalization and suicidality. Posttraumatic stress disorder as currently defined is comprised of homogeneous subgroups with important differences in posttraumatic stress symptom endorsement as well as concomitant differentiation of associated diagnoses and clinically-relevant associated features.

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