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Complex PTSD symptoms mediate the association between childhood trauma and physical health problems

Ho, Grace W.K., Karatzias, Thanos, Vallières, Frédérique, Bondjers, Kristina, Shevlin, Mark, Cloitre, Marylène, Ben-Ezra, Menachem, Bisson, Jonathan I., Roberts, Neil P., Astill Wright, Laurence and Hyland, Philip 2021. Complex PTSD symptoms mediate the association between childhood trauma and physical health problems. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 142 , 110358. 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2021.110358
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Abstract

Abstract The ICD-11 reconceptualized Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a narrowly defined fear-based disorder, and introduced Complex PTSD (CPTSD) as a new diagnosis comprised of PTSD symptoms and symptoms of ‘Disturbances in Self-Organization’ (DSO) that are more reflective of general dysphoria. Previous research suggests that PTSD symptoms mediate the association between childhood trauma and physical health problems, including cardiovascular disease. No study has yet assessed how posttraumatic stress symptoms, as outlined in the ICD-11, influence the association between childhood trauma and somatic problems in adulthood. Objective This cross-sectional descriptive study examined whether PTSD and DSO symptoms mediated the associations between childhood physical and sexual abuse and childhood emotional abuse and neglect and somatic problems and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) load in adulthood. Methods General adult population samples from Ireland (N = 1020) and the United Kingdom (N = 1051) completed self-report questionnaires online. Results Structural equation modelling results indicated that PTSD and DSO symptoms fully mediated the association between both forms of childhood trauma and somatic problems, and that PTSD symptoms but not DSO symptoms fully mediated the association between childhood trauma and CVD load. Conclusion Psychological interventions that effectively treat CPTSD symptoms may have the added benefit of reducing risk of physical health problems.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0022-3999
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 January 2021
Date of Acceptance: 10 January 2021
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2021 11:51
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/137736

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