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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    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Journal of Traumatic Stress
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Journal of Asthma
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