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Study of conflict situation finds one symptom that is especially indicative of PTSD vulnerability

20 February 2018

After a traumatic event, some people develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – generally within about a month – while others don’t.

Identifying those most at risk could allow for targeted interventions, aimed at stopping the disorder developing. So how do you spot these people?

One way of exploring this question involves viewing PTSD as a dynamic process in which symptoms interact over time to cause the disorder, and some symptoms likely play a bigger causal role than others. So if you can identify the most problematic symptoms, and the people displaying them, at an early stage, then you can work out not only who to target but which symptoms to focus on.

In a new paper due for publication in Psychological Medicine and released as a pre-print at the Open Science Framework, a team of researchers from Israel and Amsterdam conducted just such an analysis on data collected from Israeli civilians during the 50-day Israeli-Gaza war of 2014. “It is important to note that collecting [this kind of] data regarding traumatic stress symptoms during a conflict situation is unparalleled in the literature,” the researchers write.

Read more in a post from Emma Young on our Research Digest blog.

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