Volume 44 Number 2 2007
Pages 167 — 178

Abstract - Prevalence and correlates of posttraumatic stress disorder and chronic severe pain in psychiatric outpatients

Cherie L. Villano, PsyD;1 Andrew Rosenblum, PhD;1* Stephen Magura, PhD;1 Chunki Fong;1 Charles Cleland, PhD;1 Thomas F. Betzler, MD2

1National Development and Research Institutes, Inc, New York, NY; 2Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY

Abstract — This cross-sectional study reports the prevalence and correlates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic severe pain in psychiatric outpatients (n = 295), a sample that has not previously been examined for the co-occurrence of these two disorders. Nearly half the participants (46%) met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition criteria for PTSD; 40% reported chronic severe pain; and 24% had both disorders. We compared four groups of subjects who had either both disorders, PTSD only, chronic severe pain only, or neither disorder for variables previously found to be associated with both disorders or either disorder alone (e.g., psychiatric distress, substance use, stressful life events, physical/sexual abuse). Multiple pairwise comparisons indicated that persons with both disorders were significantly different from persons with neither disorder for all dependent variables and that they had greater physical and psychosocial stressors. Persons with either PTSD or chronic severe pain alone were more likely to have a chronic medical condition, higher ratings of psychiatric distress, and more stressful life events than persons with neither disorder. Mental health treatment providers should be aware of the potential for the co-occurrence of PTSD and chronic severe pain and of the many related factors in psychiatric outpatients.

Key words: chronic medical condition, chronic pain, mental health, physical/sexual abuse, positive affect, posttraumatic stress disorder, psychiatric outpatients, social support, stressful life events, substance use.

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