Impact of Injury on Posttraumatic Stress in Survivors Seeking Counseling After the 1995 Bombing in Oklahoma City

Published in: Journal of Trauma Practice, v. 2, no. 2, 2003, p. 1-17

by Betty Pfefferbaum, John A. Call, Debby E. Doughty, Walter T. Traxler, M. Narayana Pai, Gary K. Borrell, Bradley D. Stein

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This study explored the relationship of injury and posttraumatic stress symptoms in victims of the 1995 terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City. Participants for the study were drawn from a sample of 85 individuals receiving bomb-related mental health services six months after the incident. Fourteen injured survivors were matched with 14 noninjured survivors from the same sample. A self-report instrument examining demographics, exposure, peritraumatic reaction, posttraumatic stress, worry about safety, trouble functioning, and coping was administered. Injured survivors reported stronger peritraumatic reactions and greater posttraumatic stress than their noninjured counterparts. Peritraumatic reaction to the explosion was the strongest predictor of PTSD symptomatology. Injury was not a significant predictor of avoidance, though it did predict intrusion and arousal. The results indicate that even mild injury may be related to subsequent posttraumatic stress.

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