This is one of the largest prospective studies of patients with major burn injuries to use psychometrically sound methods to track and predict posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) across 2 years after burn. The principal objectives were to investigate the utility of self-report measures in detecting acute stress disorder (ASD) and PTSD, and in tracking and predicting PTSD. Participants were adult patients admitted for treatment of a major burn injury. The Stanford Acute Stress Reaction Questionnaire (SASRQ) was used to assess ASD symptomatology at discharge (n = 178), and the Davidson Trauma Scale was used to assess PTSD symptoms at scheduled follow-ups at 1 (n = 151), 6 (n = 111), 12 (n = 105), and 24 (n = 71) months after burn. The prevalence of in-hospital ASD was 23.6%, and 35.1, 33.3, 28.6, and 25.4% of the participants met PTSD criteria at 1, 6, 12, and 24 months, respectively. Clinically significant and reliable change in PTSD symptomatology during the 24 months was uncommon. SASRQ diagnostic cutoff and total scores each robustly predicted PTSD at the first three follow-ups and all four follow-ups, respectively. A SASRQ empirically derived cutoff score (≥40) yielded moderate-high sensitivities (0.67-0.71) and specificities (0.75-0.80), and predicted PTSD at each follow-up. In conclusion, ASD and PTSD are prevalent following major burn injuries, ASD symptomatology can reliably predict PTSD up to 24 months later, and, once established, PTSD usually persists. Research is needed to determine whether early recognition and treatment of persons with in-hospital ASD can improve long-term outcomes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine