Rape, abuse linked to PTSD in women

Dec. 7, 2011 at 2:09 AM

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Women with post-traumatic stress disorder who report a history of rape or child physical abuse are more likely to suffer chronic PTSD, U.S. researchers say.

Jesse R. Cougle, an assistant professor at Florida State University, said women who reported more "re-experiencing" of symptoms, such as nightmares and flashbacks, at the initial assessment were more likely to suffer from persistent PTSD symptoms two years after the study began.

"What makes our findings unique is the recovery component. Most studies of this kind have looked at risk and resiliency or the factors that determine who develops PTSD and who doesn't. We studied factors that influence recovery, or lack thereof, in a sample with PTSD," Cougle said in a statement. "What we found, interestingly, is that more than half of the women in our sample -- 58 percent -- recovered within two years."

Most people will experience at least one potentially traumatic event during their lifetimes that could result in PTSD and knowing the factors that predict chronic PTSD will help to identify people who are most in need of assistance and treatment after suffering a traumatic event, Cougle said.

The findings were published in the journal Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy.

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