Ivan Wing Chit Mak , F.H.K.C.Psych., F.H.K.A.M. (psychiatry), M.R.C.Psych. (UK), D.C.Psyc., R.C.P.&S. (Irel), M.Sc. Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CUHK) a , b , * , Chung Ming Chu , M.D., F.R.C.P. a , c , Pey Chyou Pan , F.H.K.C.Psych., F.H.K.A.M. (psychiatry), M.R.C.Psych. (UK) b , Michael Gar Chung Yiu , F.H.K.C.Psych., F.H.K.A.M. (psychiatry), M.R.C.Psych. (UK) b , Suzanne C. Ho , M.Sc., M.P.H., Ph.D., F.A.C.E. d , Veronica Lee Chan , F.H.K.A.M. (Medicine), M.R.C.P. (UK) a , c
15 September 2010
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most prevalent long-term psychiatric diagnoses among survivors of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
The objective of this study was to identify the predictors of chronic PTSD in SARS survivors.
PTSD at 30 months after the SARS outbreak was assessed by the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-IV. Survivors' demographic data, medical information and psychosocial variables were collected for risk factor analysis.
Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that female gender as well as the presence of chronic medical illnesses diagnosed before the onset of SARS and avascular necrosis were independent predictors of PTSD at 30 months post-SARS. Associated factors included higher-chance external locus of control, higher functional disability and higher average pain intensity.
The study of PTSD at 30 months post-SARS showed that the predictive value of acute medical variables may fade out. Our findings do not support some prior hypotheses that the use of high dose corticosteroids is protective against the development of PTSD. On the contrary, the adversity both before and after the SARS outbreak may be more important in hindering recovery from PTSD. The risk factor analysis can not only improve the detection of hidden psychiatric complications but also provide insight for the possible model of care delivery for the SARS survivors. With the complex interaction of the biopsychosocial challenges of SARS, an integrated multidisciplinary clinic setting may be a superior approach in the long-term management of complicated PTSD cases.