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PLoS One. 2014 Oct 23;9(10):e111136. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111136. eCollection 2014.

Identifying risk factors for PTSD in women seeking medical help after rape.

Author information

1
Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Stockholm South Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
2
Department of Clinical Science, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
3
Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Rape has been found to be the trauma most commonly associated with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among women. It is therefore important to be able to identify those women at greatest risk of developing PTSD. The aims of the present study were to analyze the PTSD prevalence six months after sexual assaults and identify the major risk factors for developing PTSD.

METHODS:

Participants were 317 female victims of rape who sought help at the Emergency Clinic for Raped Women at Stockholm South Hospital, Sweden. Baseline assessments of mental health were carried out and followed up after six months.

RESULTS:

Thirty-nine percent of the women had developed PTSD at the six month assessment, and 47% suffered from moderate or severe depression. The major risk factors for PTSD were having been sexually assaulted by more than one person, suffering from acute stress disorder (ASD) shortly after the assault, having been exposed to several acts during the assault, having been injured, having co-morbid depression, and having a history of more than two earlier traumas. Further, ASD on its own was found to be a poor predictor of PTSD because of the substantial ceiling effect after sexual assaults.

CONCLUSIONS:

Development of PTSD is common in the aftermath of sexual assaults. Increased risk of developing PTSD is caused by a combination of victim vulnerability and the extent of the dramatic nature of the current assault. By identifying those women at greatest risk of developing PTSD appropriate therapeutic resources can be directed.

PMID:
25340763
PMCID:
PMC4207776
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0111136
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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