ABSTRACT: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating psychological condition, never studied in relation to falls in older people. This study determines the prevalence and correlates of PTSD in older people post-fall.
A prospective survey study, with baseline data collected by interview in hospital post-fall and by postal self-completion at 12 and 24 weeks post-baseline. A convenience sample of 196 people (> or = 65 years) were serially recruited, 87.9% of those eligible. Information collected at baseline included falls-related data, activity problems, fear of falling, PTSD symptoms, anxiety and depression, and at follow-up PTSD symptoms, anxiety and depression, the receipt of rehabilitation and further falls.
In hospital, of 40 participants whose fall had occurred over 1 month previously 35% had full acute PTSD and 17.5% had partial acute PTSD. At follow-up full or partial chronic PTSD was found in 26.1% of participants at first follow-up, and in 27.4% of participants at second follow-up. Older age, pre-fall activity problems, fear of falling, and anxiety assessed at baseline were associated (p < 0.05) with follow-up PTSD diagnosis, as were anxiety and depression assessed concurrently.
PTSD occurs in a substantial minority of older people post-fall. No pattern emerged of factors predictive of PTSD, although the association between fear of falling and PTSD suggests some patients thought to have fear of falling may be manifesting PTSD, and require identification to enable therapeutic intervention.
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 01/2009; 24(9):955-64. · 2.42 Impact Factor