New Test Developed by Nurses Screens for Post-Traumatic Stress

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have invented a simple, eight-question test that could predict who will develop post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS) after experiencing severe trauma. The test could be used in hospital emergency rooms after patients are treated for injuries in car accidents, fires, and natural disasters.

So far the test predicts with 100% accuracy who will not get PTSS, but it is less accurate for patients who screen positive.

The author of the study, Dr. Therese Richmond, a professor at UP’s School of Nursing, said, “Depression and PTSS exert a significant, independent and persistent effect on general health, work status, somatic symptoms, adjustment to illness and function after injury.” She emphasized that even minor injuries can lead to PTSS in some people.

PTSS, often suffered by soldiers after serving in a combat zone, can have debilitating symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, inability to work or go to school, problems in anger management, and so forth. It is more common in women.

This study appears in the journal General Hospital Psychiatry.

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