Posttraumatic distress, alcohol disorders, and recurrent trauma across level 1 trauma centers

Douglas Zatzick, Gregory Jurkovich, Joan Russo, Peter Roy-Byrne, Wayne Katon, Amy Wagner, Chris Dunn, Edwina Uehara, David H Wisner, Frederick Rivara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Background: Injured survivors of individual and mass trauma receive their initial evaluation in acute care. Few investigations have comprehensively screened for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and related comorbidities across sites. Methods: This investigation included 269 randomly selected injury survivors hospitalized at two level 1 trauma centers. All patients were screened for PTSD, depressive, and peritraumatic dissociative symptoms during their surgical inpatient admission. Prior traumatic life events and alcohol abuse/dependence also were assessed. Results: In this study, 58% of the patients demonstrated high levels of immediate posttraumatic distress or alcohol abuse/dependence. Regression analyses identified greater prior trauma, female gender, nonwhite ethnicity, and site as significant independent predictors for high levels of posttraumatic distress. Conclusions: High levels of posttraumatic distress, recurrent trauma, and alcohol abuse/dependence were present in more than half of acute care inpatients. Early mental health screening and intervention procedures that target both PTSD and alcohol use should be developed for acute care settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)360-366
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Acute care
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Injury
  • PTSD
  • Recurrent trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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