Aims: This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of severe Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms and to identify factors associated with PTSD in survivors of intensive care unit (ICU) treatment following traumatic injury. Methods: Fifty-two patients who were admitted to an ICU through the emergency ward following traumatic injury were prospectively followed. Information on injury severity and ICU treatment were obtained through medical records. Demographic information and measures of acute stress symptoms, experienced social support, coping style, sense of coherence (SOC) and locus of control were assessed within one-month post-accident (T1). At the six months follow-up (T2), PTSD was assessed with the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ). Results: In the six months follow-up, 10 respondents (19.2%) had HTQ total scores reaching a level suggestive of PTSD (N = 52), and 11 respondents (21%) had symptom levels indicating subclinical PTSD. Female, five illness factors: coma time, mechanical ventilation, sedation, benzodiazepine, pain relieving medication, and four psychological factors: symptoms of acute stress (T1), fear of death and/or feeling completely helpless and powerless in relation to the accident and/or ICU (T1), SOC (T1) and more external locus of control (T1) correlated significantly with PTSD symptoms at T2. In the linear regression analysis, female, length of sedation, dissociation (T1), hypervigilance (T1), and external locus of control predicted 58% of the variation of PTSD. Conclusions: High levels of PTSD symptoms occurred in 19.2% of respondents in six months following traumatic injury requiring ICU admission. Screening for the variables gender, length of sedation, dissociation, hypervigilance, and locus of control after ICU admission following traumatic injuries may help to predict who will develop PTSD.
Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, 2014, Vol 2, Issue 1, p. 882-898