To what extent do post-traumatic mental health and other problems reflect pre-existing problems? Findings from the prospective comparative population-based VICTIMS-study

P.G. van der Velden*, Carlo Contino, Marcel Das, Lutz Wittmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background:
Findings from prospective studies question the assumption that mental health problems observed in traumatized adults mainly reflect the effects of potentially traumatic events.
Aims:
Aim of the present comparative prospective study is to clarify the extent to which victims of potentially traumatic events with mental health, social, financial, and/or legal problems, already suffered from such problems before these events.
Method:
Data was extracted from three surveys of the prospective VICTIMS-study (T1 = 2018, T2 = 2019, T3 = 2020), conducted with the population-based longitudinal LISS-panel. Differences between victims (n = 340, victimized by violence, accidents, and serious threats in the 12 months before T3) and nonvictims (n = 3,872, not victimized by such events in this period), were examined using multivariate logistic regression analyses.
Results:
The large majority of victims with current (at T3) anxiety and depression symptomatology (74%), general mental health problems (71%), partner/family (67%), financial (76%), and legal problems (58%), and lack of support (79%), already had these problems (at T1 and/or at T2). A similar pattern was observed among nonvictims. Of the victims with current probable PTSD (at T3), 87% already had any mental health problem. At T3, among both groups, the incidence of problems was substantially lower than their prevalence. The large majority of victims with post-event mental health, social, financial, and legal problems already suffered from these problems in the past.
Conclusions:
When victims seek help for their problems, professional care providers should be aware that in most cases, as among nonvictims, these problems are chronic/re-current rather than new problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-852
JournalInternational Journal of Social Psychiatry
Volume69
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • PTSD
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • financial
  • legal
  • prospective

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