Persistence and clinical consequences of post-traumatic and dissociative symptoms in people with depressive symptoms: a one-year follow-up study

Hong Wang Fung*, Anson Kai Chun Chau, Suet Lin Hung, Stanley Kam Ki Lam, Wai Tong Chien, Vincent Wan Ping Lee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Recent studies found that post-traumatic and dissociative symptoms are common in people with depressive symptoms. Although a trauma-related subtype of depression has been proposed, little is known about the persistence and clinical consequences of these symptoms. Objective: This one-year follow-up study investigated the persistence and clinical consequences of post-traumatic and dissociative symptoms in people with depressive symptoms. Methods: We analyzed longitudinal data from an international sample of people self-reporting depressive emotions (N = 152) (mean Patient Health Questionnaire-9 score = 17.27; SD = 6.31). Results: More than half (58.4%) of participants with baseline post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) still met the criteria for PTSD after one year. Participants with dissociative symptoms at baseline were significantly more likely to report lifetime psychiatric hospitalization (31.2% vs 14.7%), past-year use of psychiatric hospitalization (10.4% vs 0%) and emergency services (16.9% vs 4%) than those without dissociative symptoms. All post-traumatic and dissociative symptom clusters were cross-sectionally (r =.286 to.528, p <.001) and longitudinally (r =.181 to.462, p <.001) correlated with depressive symptoms. A sense of current threat (β =.146, p <.05) and negative self-concept (β =.173, p <.05) at baseline significantly predicted depressive symptoms after one year. Conclusions: These findings contribute to the increasing body of knowledge regarding the PTSD/dissociation-depression comorbidity. Given their persistence and clinical consequences, we recommend that post-traumatic and dissociative symptoms be regularly screened for in clinical settings. The existence of a possible trauma-related subtype of depression should receive more attention in both research and clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2263314
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychotraumatology
Volume14
Issue number2
Early online date11 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

User-Defined Keywords

  • complex post-traumatic stress disorder (complex PTSD)
  • Depression
  • dissociation
  • early intervention
  • trauma

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