Trauma and posttraumatic stress in users of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America Web site.
The Web site for the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) receives more than 5 million visits per month and thus represents a unique medium for the study of anxiety disorders. ADAA Web site users from October 2002 to January 2003 were invited to complete a survey oriented toward trauma history and psychiatric sequelae. A diagnostic approximation of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was based on responses to the Trauma Questionnaire, the Davidson Trauma Scale, and questions about impairment. The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale was also used. Variables were tested for their association with PTSD. Among 1558 participants, 87% had a history of trauma, and 38% had current PTSD. The population was comprised predominantly of white middle-class women, half of whom were married. More than 90% were first-time users of the site. Factors associated with PTSD included death of, or harm to, a loved one; personal history of incest, rape, or physical abuse; lower age; lower income; unemployment; missed work; increased medical care; dissatisfaction with psychotropic medication; depressive symptoms; and lower resilience. In this selective convenience sample, there were high rates of traumatization and PTSD. The demographics of this group are similar to those seen in previously studied populations that had contacted the ADAA. Furthermore, the factors associated with PTSD were like those in many community surveys. The ADAA Web site has the opportunity to benefit large numbers of highly distressed individuals.
Nicholls, PJ; Abraham, K; Connor, KM; Ross, J; Davidson, JRT; Anxiety Disorders Association of America,
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