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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in response to the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster of 11 September 2001 (9/11) is one of the most prevalent and persistent health conditions among both professional (e.g. police) and non-traditional (e.g. construction worker) WTC responders, even several years after 9/11. However, little is known about the dimensionality and natural course of WTC-related PTSD symptomatology in these populations.
Data were analysed from 10 835 WTC responders, including 4035 police and 6800 non-traditional responders who were evaluated as part of the WTC Health Program, a clinic network in the New York area established by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs) were used to evaluate structural models of PTSD symptom dimensionality; and autoregressive cross-lagged (ARCL) panel regressions were used to examine the prospective interrelationships among PTSD symptom clusters at 3, 6 and 8 years after 9/11.
CFAs suggested that five stable symptom clusters best represent PTSD symptom dimensionality in both police and non-traditional WTC responders. This five-factor model was also invariant over time with respect to factor loadings and structural parameters, thereby demonstrating its longitudinal stability. ARCL panel regression analyses revealed that hyperarousal symptoms had a prominent role in predicting other symptom clusters of PTSD, with anxious arousal symptoms primarily driving re-experiencing symptoms, and dysphoric arousal symptoms primarily driving emotional numbing symptoms over time.
Results of this study suggest that disaster-related PTSD symptomatology in WTC responders is best represented by five symptom dimensions. Anxious arousal symptoms, which are characterized by hypervigilance and exaggerated startle, may primarily drive re-experiencing symptoms, while dysphoric arousal symptoms, which are characterized by sleep disturbance, irritability/anger and concentration difficulties, may primarily drive emotional numbing symptoms over time. These results underscore the importance of assessment, monitoring and early intervention of hyperarousal symptoms in WTC and other disaster responders.
The extent to which psychiatric disorders are associated with an increased risk of violence to partners is unclear. This review aimed to establish risk of violence against partners among men and women with diagnosed psychiatric disorders.
Systematic review and meta-analysis. Searches of eleven electronic databases were supplemented by hand searching, reference screening and citation tracking of included articles, and expert recommendations.
Seventeen studies were included, reporting on 72 585 participants, but only three reported on past year violence. Pooled risk estimates could not be calculated for past year violence against a partner and the three studies did not consistently report increased risk for any diagnosis. Pooled estimates showed an increased risk of having ever been physically violent towards a partner among men with depression (odds ratio (OR) 2.8, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 2.5–3.3), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) (OR 3.2, 95% CI 2.3–4.4) and panic disorder (OR 2.5, 95% CI C% 1.7–3.6). Increased risk was also found among women with depression (OR 2.4, 95% CI 2.1–2.8), GAD (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.9–3.0) and panic disorder (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.4–2.5).
Psychiatric disorders are associated with high prevalence and increased odds of having ever been physically violent against a partner. As history of violence is a predictor of current violence, mental health professionals should ask about previous partner violence when assessing risk.
High numbers of psychiatric service users experience domestic violence, yet limited interventions exist for these victims. We piloted a domestic violence intervention for community mental health services to explore the feasibility of a future cluster randomized controlled trial.
Quasi-experimental controlled design within five Community Mental Health Teams (three intervention and two control teams). The intervention comprised domestic violence training for clinicians' and referral to domestic violence advocacy for service users. Clinicians' (n = 29) domestic violence knowledge, attitudes and behaviours were assessed before and 6 months post-training. Service users' (n = 34) safety behaviours, unmet needs, quality of life and frequency/severity of abuse were examined at baseline and 3 months follow-up. Process evaluation data were also collected.
Clinicians receiving the intervention reported significant improvements in domestic violence knowledge, attitudes and behaviours at follow-up (p < 0.05). Service users receiving the intervention reported significant reductions in violence (p < 0.001) and unmet needs at follow-up (p < 0.05).
Interventions comprising domestic violence training for clinicians and referral to domestic violence advocacy may improve responses of psychiatric services. Low rates of identification among teams not receiving training suggest that future trials using service user outcomes are unlikely to be feasible. Therefore, other methods of evaluation are needed.
Longitudinal symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are often characterized by heterogeneous trajectories, which may have unique pre-, peri- and post-trauma risk and protective factors. To date, however, no study has evaluated the nature and determinants of predominant trajectories of PTSD symptoms in World Trade Center (WTC) responders.
A total of 10835 WTC responders, including 4035 professional police responders and 6800 non-traditional responders (e.g. construction workers) who participated in the WTC Health Program (WTC-HP), were evaluated an average of 3, 6 and 8 years after the WTC attacks.
Among police responders, longitudinal PTSD symptoms were best characterized by four classes, with the majority (77.8%) in a resistant/resilient trajectory and the remainder exhibiting chronic (5.3%), recovering (8.4%) or delayed-onset (8.5%) symptom trajectories. Among non-traditional responders, a six-class solution was optimal, with fewer responders in a resistant/resilient trajectory (58.0%) and the remainder exhibiting recovering (12.3%), severe chronic (9.5%), subsyndromal increasing (7.3%), delayed-onset (6.7%) and moderate chronic (6.2%) trajectories. Prior psychiatric history, Hispanic ethnicity, severity of WTC exposure and WTC-related medical conditions were most strongly associated with symptomatic trajectories of PTSD symptoms in both groups of responders, whereas greater education and family and work support while working at the WTC site were protective against several of these trajectories.
Trajectories of PTSD symptoms in WTC responders are heterogeneous and associated uniquely with pre-, peri- and post-trauma risk and protective factors. Police responders were more likely than non-traditional responders to exhibit a resistant/resilient trajectory. These results underscore the importance of prevention, screening and treatment efforts that target high-risk disaster responders, particularly those with prior psychiatric history, high levels of trauma exposure and work-related medical morbidities.
Domestic violence has been linked with many mental disorders, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and psychosis.
To estimate the prevalence (adult lifetime and past year) of different types of domestic violence experienced by men and women receiving psychiatric treatment.
In a systematic review, a search of 18 electronic databases was supplemented by hand searching, citation tracking and updating a recent systematic review of criminal victimisation in psychiatric populations. Two reviewers independently extracted data and appraised study quality.
Forty-two studies were included. The median prevalence of lifetime partner violence reported in high-quality papers was 30% (interquartile range (IQR) 26–39) among female in-patients and 33% (IQR 21–53) among female out-patients. Among male patients, one high-quality study reported a lifetime prevalence of 32% across mixed psychiatric settings. No study included a control group.
Psychiatric patients experience a high prevalence of domestic violence but there is limited information on family (non-partner) domestic violence, the prevalence of emotional abuse and the extent of risk compared with non-psychiatric controls.
The lifetime prevalence of domestic violence in women is 20–25%. There is increasing recognition of the increased vulnerability of psychiatric populations to domestic violence. We therefore aimed to review studies on the prevalence of, and the evidence for the effectiveness of interventions in, psychiatric patients experiencing domestic violence.
Literature search using Medline, PsycINFO and EMBASE applying the following inclusion criteria: English-language papers, data provided on the prevalence of or interventions for domestic violence, adults in contact with mental health services.
Reported lifetime prevalence of severe domestic violence among psychiatric in-patients ranged from 30% to 60%. Lower rates are reported for men when prevalence is reported by gender. No controlled studies were identified. Low rates of detection of domestic violence occur in routine clinical practice and there is some evidence that, when routine enquiry is introduced into services, detection rates improve, but identification of domestic violence is rarely used in treatment planning. There is a lack of evidence on the effectiveness of routine enquiry in terms of morbidity and mortality, and there have been no studies investigating specific domestic violence interventions for psychiatric patients.
There is a high prevalence of domestic violence in psychiatric populations but the extent of the increased risk in psychiatric patients compared with other populations is not clear because of the limitations of the methodology used in the studies identified. There is also very limited evidence on how to address domestic violence with respect to the identification and provision of evidence-based interventions in mental health services.
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