Psychiatric admission as a risk factor for posttraumatic stress disorder

Psychiatry Res. 2021 Nov;305:114176. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2021.114176. Epub 2021 Aug 21.


Psychiatric hospitalization poses a risk for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), partly because of coercion. However, the role of legal status is less clear, while factors like insight, exposure to violence and affective disorders have not been addressed adequately. The present study aims at assessing PTSD rates after hospitalization and evaluating the potential role of these factors. 98 inpatients were assessed for PTSD, insight, main diagnosis, adverse events during hospitalization and legal status. Assessment took place at discharge (T1) and three months later (T2). Three months after discharge, 74.2% of patients with affective disorders met symptom-criteria for PTSD. Voluntarily hospitalized patients had more severe PTSD-symptoms. This relation vanished after controlling for affective disorders. The latter, as well as exposure to violence were the most significant risk factors at T2. Female gender, marital status (not married) and employment status (not employed), were additional risk factors at T1, while involuntary medication had a negative effect on PTSD-symptoms. Voluntarily hospitalized patients are more vulnerable to PTSD, due to higher rates of affective disorders. Females suffering from affective disorders who are not married and not employed should be monitored for PTSD symptoms during and after hospitalization, especially if exposed to violence.

Keywords: Adverse events during hospitalization; Coercion; Insight; Involuntary hospitalization; Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / diagnosis
  • Violence / psychology