Posttraumatic Stress, Depression, and Health Among Older Adults in Primary Care

Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 4.24). 05/2006; 14(4):316-24. DOI: 10.1097/01.JGP.0000199382.96115.86
Source: PubMed


The authors examined 1) rates of trauma and posttraumatic stress (PTS) in older adults in primary care; 2) factors related to more posttraumatic stress symptoms; and 3) the influence of posttraumatic stress and depression on health perceptions and negative health behaviors (i.e., suicidal ideation, smoking, and at-risk drinking).
As part of participation in a study at the Philadelphia VAMC and the University of Pennsylvania, a random subset (N = 2,718) of older adults (age > or = 65 years) with scheduled primary care visits were screened concerning demographics, the General Health Questionnaire-12, suicidal thoughts, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, perceived health status, PTS, and cognitive impairment.
The rate of trauma in older adult primary care patients was high in both the VA (37%) and university-based clinics (24%). Many older adults reported interference from at least one of the three posttraumatic stress items assessed (VA, 18%; university-based primary care, 8%). In a model including demographic factors, higher PTS and depression were uniquely related to more negative health perceptions. In a model including demographic factors, both higher PTS and depression were uniquely related to higher likelihood of suicidal ideation. In contrast, PTS no longer contributed to a model of smoking once depression was included. Neither PTS nor depression significantly contributed to a model of at-risk drinking.
Trauma and posttraumatic stress are frequent and significant problems for older adults in primary care. Both posttraumatic stress and depression are related to more negative health perceptions and higher likelihood of suicidal ideation.

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Available from: Sheila A M Rauch, Jan 02, 2014
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