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J Trauma Stress. 2014 Dec;27(6):680-8. doi: 10.1002/jts.21972. Epub 2014 Dec 2.

Comorbidity of 9/11-related PTSD and depression in the World Trade Center Health Registry 10-11 years postdisaster.

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New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Long Island City, New York, USA.


Many studies report elevated prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression among persons exposed to the September 11, 2001 (9/11) disaster compared to those unexposed; few have evaluated long-term PTSD with comorbid depression. We examined prevalence and risk factors for probable PTSD, probable depression, and both conditions 10-11 years post-9/11 among 29,486 World Trade Center Health Registry enrollees who completed surveys at Wave 1 (2003-2004), Wave 2 (2006-2007), and Wave 3 (2011-2012). Enrollees reporting physician diagnosed pre-9/11 PTSD or depression were excluded. PTSD was defined as scoring ≥ 44 on the PTSD Checklist and depression as scoring ≥ 10 on the 8-item Patient Health Questionnaire. We examined 4 groups: comorbid PTSD and depression, PTSD only, depression only, and neither. Among enrollees, 15.2% reported symptoms indicative of PTSD at Wave 3, 14.9% of depression, and 10.1% of both. Comorbid PTSD and depression was associated with high 9/11 exposures, low social integration, health-related unemployment, and experiencing ≥ 1 traumatic life event post-9/11. Comorbid persons experienced poorer outcomes on all PTSD-related impairment measures, life satisfaction, overall health, and unmet mental health care need compared to those with only a single condition. These findings highlight the importance of ongoing screening and treatment for both conditions, particularly among those at risk for mental health comorbidity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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