Purpose: To systematically compare specific domains of quality of life and social support as they pertain to the full trauma spectrum of (i) healthy individuals, (ii) those with ongoing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), (iii) remitted PTSD, or (iv) those who failed to develop PTSD in spite of trauma exposure.
Methods: Data were from the first wave of a psychiatric epidemiological catchment area study based in Montreal, Canada (N = 2 433). PTSD diagnosis, quality of life, and social support outcomes were established by face-to-face structured interviews using standardized instruments. Outcomes were compared across the four groups.
Results: Although the between-group contrasts suggested that those currently suffering from PTSD generally had a poorer quality of life across domains, the group in remission from PTSD did not. Exploratory analyses concerning subscales for quality of life showed particular impairments for specific domains dependent on PTSD diagnosis, with remitted and ongoing PTSD showing significantly different quality of life for subscales such as daily life/social relationships, spare time activities and autonomy, but similar scores for subscales of housing/neighborhood and personal relationships. Contrary to most previous findings, individuals suffering from PTSD did not report lower overall social support.
Conclusions: For both outcomes of quality of life and social support, longitudinal research is required to fully understand these complex relationships as they evolve along the full trauma spectrum.