8-question survey can help predict post-traumatic stress disorder

July 18, 2011

A simple eight-question survey administered soon after injury can help predict which of the 30 million Americans seeking hospital treatment for injuries each year may develop depression or post-traumatic stress, report Therese S. Richmond, PhD, CRNP, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, and her colleagues in General Hospital Psychiatry.

"Depression and PTSD exert a significant, independent, and persistent effect on , work status, somatic symptoms, adjustment to illness, and function after injury," the authors wrote, also emphasizing that even minor injuries can lead to traumatic stress responses.
The findings allow healthcare providers to identify patients at highest risk for developing these disorders and to target appropriate resources to this vulnerable group.

This – reportedly one of the first of its kind for adults in the U.S. -- could have a great impact on the judicious allocation of costly mental health resources.

Using an eight-question survey, all injured patients can be rapidly assessed for risk in the hospital. can then provide patients classed as high-risk for developing depression or PTSD with information about symptoms to look for and advise them to contact their primary care provider should symptoms surface. This intervention can facilitate early diagnosis of these disabling disorders.

The study reported nearly 100 percent accuracy in negative results. Only five percent of injured patients who tested negative for risk of depression on the screening survey developed and no patients who tested negative for PTSD risk developed PTSD. At the same time, not all patients who screen positive will develop these disorders. The researchers do not suggest that all patients who screen positive receive mental health services, but rather that this finding prompt systematic provision of information and additional follow-up.

The authors caution that while the findings of this initial study are most promising, they need to be replicated in an independent sample.

Explore further: Post-deployment PTSD symptoms more common in military personnel with prior mental health disorders

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Serious research into what makes us laugh

November 24, 2015

More complex jokes tend to be funnier but only up to a point, Oxford researchers have found. Jokes that are too complicated tend to lose the audience.

Psychologists dispute continuum theory of sexual orientation

November 19, 2015

Washington State University researchers have established a categorical distinction between people who are heterosexual and those who are not. By analyzing the reported sexual behavior, identity and attraction of more than ...

Babies have logical reasoning before age one, study finds

November 18, 2015

Human infants are capable of deductive problem solving as early as 10 months of age, a new study by psychologists at Emory University and Bucknell finds. The journal Developmental Science is publishing the research, showing ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.