Individuals with a psychiatric diagnosis and those with a history of trauma are at high risk for depression and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) following exposure to new traumatic events. Nevertheless, research is scarce on how having both a psychiatric diagnosis and a trauma history affect reactions to new traumatic events, and how different trauma types may affect individuals with a psychiatric diagnosis. We thus examined whether different stressful contexts (War and COVID-19) affected individuals with and without a psychiatric diagnosis differentially and whether results might be explained by prior trauma exposure. In the same cohort, we assessed depression and PTSS during wartime (2014), routine time (2016), and during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020) in a sample with (n = 89) and without (n = 104) a self-reported psychiatric diagnosis. This cohort was recruited during the 2014 Israel-Gaza War using social media, snowballing and outreach to mental health rehabilitation centres. We used a linear mixed modelling approach on data from the entire sample, as well as on the two study groups separately. We found that trauma history predicted PTSS and depression whereas a history of psychiatric diagnosis did not. Regarding trauma types, we found that individuals in the psychiatric diagnosis group relative to themselves had more symptoms during COVID-19 compared to war and routine time, while those without diagnosis had more PTSS and depression symptoms during wartime compared to routine time and COVID-19. In conclusion, a traumatic past may have an important influence on reactions to different types of traumatic events. Distinct traumatic events may affect individuals with or without a psychiatric diagnosis differentially.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank Gabriel Liberman and Amir Hefetz from Datagraph Statistical Consulting for their statistical support. The Moshe Hess Foundation, Israel; the Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center, Israel, the Israel Science Foundation (1244/16), and The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation [Narsad Young Investigator award to TG; 23524].
© 2023 The Authors. Stress and Health published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
- mental health disorder
- posttraumatic stress
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology
- Applied Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health