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DSM-5 PTSD and posttraumatic stress spectrum in Italian emergency personnel: correlations with work and social adjustment

Authors Carmassi C, Gesi C, Simoncini M, Favilla L, Massimetti G, Olivieri MC, Conversano C, Santini M, Dell'Osso L

Received 25 September 2015

Accepted for publication 5 November 2015

Published 18 February 2016 Volume 2016:12 Pages 375—381


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Claudia Carmassi,1 Camilla Gesi,1 Marly Simoncini,1 Luca Favilla,1 Gabriele Massimetti,1 Maria Cristina Olivieri,1 Ciro Conversano,2 Massimo Santini,2 Liliana Dell’Osso1

1Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Psychiatry, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy; 2Emergency Medicine and Emergency Room Unit, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana (AOUP), Pisa, Italy

Abstract: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5) has recently recognized a particular risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among first responders (criterion A4), acknowledging emergency units as stressful places of employment. Little data is yet available on DSM-5 among emergency health operators. The aim of this study was to assess DSM-5 symptomatological PTSD and posttraumatic stress spectrum, as well as their impact on work and social functioning, in the emergency staff of a major university hospital in Italy. One hundred and ten subjects (doctors, nurses, and health-care assistants) were recruited at the Emergency Unit of the Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana (Italy) and assessed by the Trauma and Loss Spectrum-Self Report (TALS-SR) and Work and Social Adjustment Scale (WSAS). A 15.7% DSM-5 symptomatological PTSD prevalence rate was found. Nongraduated persons reported significantly higher TALS-SR Domain IV (reaction to loss or traumatic events) scores and a significantly higher proportion of individuals presenting at least one maladaptive behavior (TALS-SR Domain VII), with respect to graduate ones. Women reported significantly higher WSAS scores. Significant correlations emerged between PTSD symptoms and WSAS total scores among health-care assistants, nongraduates and women. Our results showed emergency workers to be at risk for posttraumatic stress spectrum and related work and social impairment, particularly among women and nongraduated subjects.

Keywords: posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), emergency, emergency care workers, work and social functioning/adjustment, maladaptive behaviors, gender, education

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