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J Trauma Stress. 2013 Dec;26(6):762-6. doi: 10.1002/jts.21865. Epub 2013 Nov 8.

Psychological effects of the marathon bombing on Boston-area veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Author information

1
National Center for PTSD at VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

This study examined the psychological impact of the Boston Marathon bombing using data from an ongoing longitudinal study of Boston-area veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; N = 71). Participants were assessed by telephone within 1 week of the end of the event; 42.3% of participants reported being personally affected by the bombings and/or the manhunt that followed. The majority of them reported that the bombing reminded them of their own traumas and/or caused other emotional distress. Examination of change in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms from a prebombing assessment an average of 2 months earlier to 1 week after the event revealed no significant change in symptoms across the sample as a whole. However, examination of patterns of change at the individual level revealed significant correlations (r = .33; p = .005) between distress at the time of the event and change in total PTSD symptom severity, with this effect accounted for primarily by increases in intrusion and avoidance symptoms (rs = .35 and .31, ps = .002 and .008, respectively). Findings of this study should raise awareness of the potential impact of terror attacks, mass shootings, and other events of this type on the well-being of individuals with histories of trauma and/or pre-existing PTSD.

PMID:
24343753
DOI:
10.1002/jts.21865
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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