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Trauma type affects recognition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among online respondents in the UK and Ireland

Trauma type affects recognition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among online respondents in the UK and Ireland

Merritt, Christopher J., Tharp, Ian and Furnham, Adrian (2014) Trauma type affects recognition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among online respondents in the UK and Ireland. Journal of Affective Disorders, 164. pp. 123-129. ISSN 0165-0327 (Print), 1573-2517 (Online) (doi:10.1016/j.jad.2014.04.013)

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Abstract

Background: Mental Health Literacy (MHL) predicts help-seeking for mental health difficulties. Public surveys show high recognition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in relation to military contexts, but this has not been investigated with other sources of trauma.

Methods: A self-selecting sample of 2960 participants from UK and Ireland completed an online survey. Participants viewed one of three vignettes that described either a male or female character experiencing identical PTSD symptoms, that differed only by trauma source (military combat, industrial accident, sexual assault). Participants were asked to state i) whether a mental health problem was being experienced, ii) what it was, and iii) what help should be sought.

Results: Trauma type was a key predictor of classification as a mental health problem, correct identification of PTSD, and help-seeking suggestions. For participants shown the military scenario the odds of recognising PTSD were 5.2 times higher than for those shown the sexual assault vignette, and 2.2 times higher than for those shown the accident scenario. Age (younger), gender (female), education (university), and personal mental health experience were additional significant predictors of higher recognition of PTSD.

Limitations: Reasons for failing to recognise a mental health problem/PTSD were not explored. The online convenience sampling method may limit generalisability of results.

Conclusions: Recognition of PTSD is significantly affected by trauma source. The data confirmed the pervasive association with military combat and suggest under-recognition of PTSD from other traumas, particularly sexual assault. Awareness campaigns may aim to increase MHL of PTSD from diverse trauma sources.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mental health literacy; Post-traumatic stress disorder; PTSD
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education & Health
Faculty of Education & Health > Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2017 20:22
Selected for GREAT 2016: GREAT a
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/14164

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