Posttraumatic stress disorder following asthma attack (post-asthma attack PTSD) and psychiatric co-morbidity: The impact of alexithymia and coping

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Psychiatry Research


This study investigated the prevalence of post-asthma attack posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the severity of psychiatric co-morbidity among a group of college students and whether alexithymia and coping strategies would relate to health outcomes. This is a cross-sectional study in which 156 college students who had previously experienced asthma attack were recruited. They completed a demographic page, Asthma Symptom Checklist, PTSD Checklist, General Health Questionnaire-28, Toronto Alexithymia Scale and the COPE. They were also matched with 141 students without asthma. The results showed that 3% met the criteria for full-PTSD, 44% for partial and 53% for no-PTSD. There were no significant differences between the asthma and control groups in severity of psychiatric co-morbid symptoms. Path analyses showed that asthma severity was significantly correlated with PTSD and psychiatric co-morbidity. It was also correlated with alexithymia which was in turn associated with psychiatric co-morbidity but not PTSD. Coping strategies were not correlated with health outcomes. To conclude, people can develop PTSD symptoms and degrees of psychiatric co-morbid symptoms after suffering asthma attack. The severity of these symptoms relates to people's perceptions of asthma severity and alexithymia. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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