FRIDAY, Feb. 17, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Subthreshold posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are common and increase the risk for health impairment among frontline health care workers (HCWs), according to a study published in the February issue of the Journal of Psychiatric Research.
Bryce Hruska, Ph.D., from Syracuse University in New York, and colleagues examined the prevalence of subthreshold PTSD symptoms and its relationship to physical health symptoms and sleep problems among 852 frontline HCWs during the pandemic’s second wave (January 2021 to February 2021).
The researchers found that more than half of HCWs (55.3 percent) experienced subthreshold PTSD symptoms. When adjusting for demographics, occupational characteristics, and COVID-19 status, HCWs with subthreshold PTSD symptoms experienced greater physical health symptoms and sleep problems versus HCWs with no PTSD symptoms. HCWs with PTSD reported the greatest health impairment, but HCWs with subthreshold PTSD symptoms reported 88 percent more physical health symptoms and 36 percent more sleep problems than HCWs with no PTSD symptoms.
“This is an important study that captures what frontline health care workers were experiencing during the pandemic’s second wave and continue to experience as COVID approaches the start of its fourth year in the United States,” Hruska said in a statement. “While there has been a lot of attention paid to elevated symptom levels indicative of a clinical diagnosis, little attention has been paid to subclinical symptom levels. This is a big oversight because these subthreshold symptom levels are common and often confer risk for other health problems.”
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