Reactivation of posttraumatic stress in male disaster survivors: the role of residual symptoms

J Anxiety Disord. 2010 May;24(4):397-402. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.02.003. Epub 2010 Feb 12.


The aim of this study was to establish the relative distribution of resilient, remitted, chronic and reactivated posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a population of survivors from a major civilian disaster. Residual PTSD symptoms were explored to identify predictors of future reactivation. Symptoms were measured by the Impact of Event Scale (IES) 5.5 months, 14 months and 5 years after the disaster. Forty-eight survivors (79%) were interviewed after 27 years. PTSD status was determined by using the Structural Clinical Interview for DSM-IV axis I Disorders (SCID-I). The distributions were: 58.3% resilient, 14.6% remitted, 8.3% chronic, and 18.8% reactivated PTSD. Number of residual symptoms from intrusion and avoidance 14 months and 5 years past trauma predicted later reactivation. Intrusion symptoms in general, and sleep related intrusions in particular, were the most consistent predictors deserving special attention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / psychology*
  • Disasters*
  • Extraction and Processing Industry
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • North Sea
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • ROC Curve
  • Recurrence
  • Resilience, Psychological
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Time Factors