Development and preliminary performance of a risk factor screen to predict posttraumatic psychological disorder after trauma exposure GENERAL HOSPITAL PSYCHIATRY Carlson, E. B., Palmieri, P. A., Spain, D. A. 2017; 46: 25–31


We examined data from a prospective study of risk factors that increase vulnerability or resilience, exacerbate distress, or foster recovery to determine whether risk factors accurately predict which individuals will later have high posttraumatic (PT) symptom levels and whether brief measures of risk factors also accurately predict later symptom elevations.Using data from 129 adults exposed to traumatic injury of self or a loved one, we conducted receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses of 14 risk factors assessed by full-length measures, determined optimal cutoff scores, and calculated predictive performance for the nine that were most predictive. For five risk factors, we identified sets of items that accounted for 90% of variance in total scores and calculated predictive performance for sets of brief risk measures.A set of nine risk factors assessed by full measures identified 89% of those who later had elevated PT symptoms (sensitivity) and 78% of those who did not (specificity). A set of four brief risk factor measures assessed soon after injury identified 86% of those who later had elevated PT symptoms and 72% of those who did not.Use of sets of brief risk factor measures shows promise of accurate prediction of PT psychological disorder and probable PTSD or depression. Replication of predictive accuracy is needed in a new and larger sample.

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