Background: Victims of violent assault experience diverse post-event emotional problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and they may have multiple emotional problems. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the prevalence and predictors of PTSD in a longitudinal design.
Methods: The levels of physical injury, perceived life threat, prior experience of violence, peritraumatic dissociation (PD), acute PTSD, perceived self-efficacy and perceived social support are considered possible predictors. This study had a single group (N = 70), longitudinal design with three repeated measures over a period of 12 months. Questionnaires used were: Impact of Event Scale-15 and 22 (IES-15 and 22), Post-Traumatic Symptom Scale-10 (PTSS-10), Peritraumatic Dissociation (PD) 7-item self-report measure, Social Provisions Scale (SPS) and Generalized Self-Efficacy scale (GSE).
Results: Results showed a high prevalence and severity of PTSD on all outcomes, for instance 31% scored as probable PTSD-cases and 14% as risk level cases by IES-15 at T3. Either injury severity or prior experience of being a victim of violence predicted PTSD in this study. Early PTSD predicted subsequent PTSD, and perceived life threat was a predictor of PD. Furthermore, lack of perceived social support was a predictor of PTSD symptoms at T3. In addition, low perceived self-efficacy was a predictor of PTSD and influenced perceived social support at T1.
Conclusions: Our results showed that experience of non-domestic violence may cause serious chronic emotional problems, and therefore it is important to be aware of early symptoms indicating needs for special follow-ups.