On November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks took place in Paris. One hundred and twenty-nine people were immediately killed and 302 needed emergency care. Many resident physicians were on the front line of the medical response. Our aim was to report the frequency of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression among resident physicians after the Paris terrorist attacks.
Anonymous questionnaires, including the Impact of Event Scale- Revised (IES-R) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), were emailed two months after the attacks to 2413 Parisian resident physicians. Exposure to the attacks was defined as having direct clinical contact with one of the victims up to one week after the attacks, being one of the victims, or having one among close relatives.
The questionnaire was completed by 680 (28.2%) residents. Eighty-four (12.4%) reported symptoms of PTSD (IES-R ≥ 33), 76 (11.2%) reported symptoms of anxiety (HADS anxiety score > 10) and 16 (2.4%) reported symptoms of depression (HADS depression score > 10). Exposed residents had higher IES-R scores than non-exposed residents (18.8 ± 16.6 versus 14.2 ± 12.0, p = 0.001), and 40 (18.5%) of them reported symptoms of PTSD, compared to 44 (9.5%) of the non-exposed residents ( p = 0.001).
There was a high frequency of symptoms of mental distress among our respondents. Dedicated screening and care strategies must be considered in the event of new attacks.