Relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder and asthma among New York area residents exposed to the World Trade Center disaster

California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University, San Francisco, USA.
Journal of psychosomatic research (Impact Factor: 2.74). 08/2012; 73(2):122-5. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2012.05.003
Source: PubMed


The heightened prevalence rates of respiratory problems and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among New York area residents following the World Trade Center disaster on September 11, 2001, have received national attention. Although there is some evidence suggesting that PTSD is associated with increased risk for asthma, this relationship has not been well documented in this population at high risk for both disorders. There is also a need to examine this relationship while controlling for notable confounds, including dust exposure and smoking.
This study examined the association between symptoms indicative of probable PTSD and the diagnosis of asthma following 9/11 among the individuals who participated in the World Trade Center Health Registry (WTCHR) baseline study between September 2003 and November 2004. A total of 71,437 participants enrolled in this study and completed questionnaires pertaining to exposure, physical health symptoms before and after 9/11, and self-reported PTSD symptoms.
Logistic regression revealed that, compared to participants without probable PTSD, individuals with probable PTSD were 1.65 times more likely to be diagnosed with asthma following 9/11, which was significant after controlling for the effects of gender, ethnicity, income, smoking status, dust exposure, and nonspecific psychological distress [Wald χ(2) (1)=52.375, P<.001].
These results suggest that PTSD symptoms are associated with the development of asthma following 9/11 and that this relationship is not explained by sociodemographic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.

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    ABSTRACT: This manuscript describes the design, implementation and evaluation of the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Registry's Treatment Referral Program (TRP), created to respond to enrollees’ self-reported 9/11-related physical and mental health needs and promote the use of WTC-specific health care. In 2009-2011, the TRP conducted personalized outreach, including an individualized educational mailing and telephone follow-up to 7,518 selected enrollees who resided in New York City, did not participate in rescue/recovery work, and reported symptoms of 9/11-related physical conditions or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on their most recently completed Registry survey. TRP staff spoke with enrollees to address barriers to care and schedule appointments at the WTC Environmental Health Center for those eligible. We assessed three nested outcomes: TRP participation (e.g., contact with TRP staff), scheduling appointments, and keeping scheduled appointments. A total of 1,232 (16.4%) eligible enrollees participated in the TRP; 32% of them scheduled a first-time appointment. We reached 84% of participants who scheduled appointments; 79.4% reported having kept the appointment. Scheduling an appointment, but not keeping it, was associated with self-reported unmet health care need, PTSD, and poor functioning (≥14 days of poor physical or mental health in the past 30 days) (P < 0.05). Neither scheduling nor keeping an appointment was associated with demographic characteristics. Successful outreach to disaster-exposed populations may require a sustained effort that employs a variety of methods in order to encourage and facilitate use of post-disaster services. Findings from this evaluation can inform outreach to the population exposed to 9/11 being conducted by other organizations.
    10/2014; 2(2):97-105. DOI:10.4161/dish.28219
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    ABSTRACT: The relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and asthma in the wake of natural disasters is poorly understood. Using pre- and postdisaster data (N = 405) from the Resilience in Survivors of Katrina (RISK) project, we examined associations between PTSD symptoms, measured by the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R), and self-reported postdisaster asthma attacks. A 1-point increase in the IES-R avoidance score, which corresponded to one standard deviation change in this sample, was associated with double the odds of reporting an asthma attack or episode since the hurricane, 95% CI Revise spacing among characters: [1.22, 4.16]. Association with hyperarousal and intrusion symptoms was null. Further research using objective measures of asthma morbidity is needed; nevertheless, these findings may help inform postdisaster health services delivery and predisaster mitigation planning.
    Journal of Traumatic Stress 12/2014; 27(6). DOI:10.1002/jts.21976 · 2.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To identify key factors associated with poor asthma control among adults in the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Registry, a longitudinal study of rescue/recovery workers and community members who were directly exposed to the 2001 WTC terrorist attacks and their aftermath. Methods: We studied incident asthma diagnosed by a physician from 12 September 2001 through 31 December 2003 among participants aged ≥18 on 11 September 2001, as reported on an enrollment (2003-2004) or follow-up questionnaire. Based on modified National Asthma Education and Prevention Program criteria, asthma was considered controlled, poorly-controlled, or very poorly-controlled at the time of a 2011-2012 follow-up questionnaire. Probable post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and generalized anxiety disorder were defined using validated scales. Self-reported gastroesophageal reflux symptoms (GERS) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) were obtained from questionnaire responses. Multinomial logistic regression was used to examine factors associated with poor or very poor asthma control. Results: Among 2445 participants, 33.7% had poorly-controlled symptoms and 34.6% had very poorly-controlled symptoms in 2011-2012. Accounting for factors including age, education, body mass index, and smoking, there was a dose-response relationship between the number of mental health conditions and poorer asthma control. Participants with three mental health conditions had five times the odds of poor control and 13 times the odds of very poor control compared to participants without mental health comorbidities. GERS and OSA were significantly associated with poor or very poor control. Conclusions: Rates of poor asthma control were very high in this group with post-9/11 diagnosed asthma. Comprehensive care of 9/11-related asthma should include management of mental and physical health comorbidities.
    Journal of Asthma 12/2014; 52(6):1-30. DOI:10.3109/02770903.2014.999083 · 1.80 Impact Factor
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