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Am J Health Promot. 2014 May-Jun;28(5):294-7. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.121023-QUAN-511. Epub 2013 Aug 13.

Social support may protect against development of posttraumatic stress disorder: findings from the Heart and Soul Study.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

No prospective studies have examined the association of poor social support and development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in patients with chronic illness. This study addresses this knowledge gap.

DESIGN:

This prospective study examines the relationship of social support to the subsequent development of PTSD during a 5-year period.

SETTING:

San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

SUBJECTS:

A total of 579 participants with cardiovascular disease did not have PTSD at baseline and returned for the 5-year follow-up examination.

MEASURES:

PTSD measured by Computerized Diagnostic Interview Schedule for DSM-IV. Social support measured by Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (ISEL).

ANALYSIS:

Unconditional ordered logistic regression analyses were performed to yield the odds ratio of developing PTSD for a one-standard-deviation change in ISEL score.

RESULTS:

Of 579 participants who did not have PTSD at baseline, approximately 6.4% (n = 37) developed PTSD. Higher baseline perceived social support was strongly protective against development of PTSD (OR = .60, p = .001). Results remained significant after adjustment for age, sex, race, income, and depression (OR = .69, p = .04). Of social support types examined, the "tangible" and "belonging" domains were most strongly associated with future PTSD status.

CONCLUSION:

Social support may impact development of PTSD. Interventions that optimize social support may be part of a PTSD prevention program designed to help individuals at risk of developing PTSD.

PMID:
23941102
DOI:
10.4278/ajhp.121023-QUAN-511
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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