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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

BU: More Research Needed into Spectrum of Stress Disorders

With attention to stress-disorder diagnoses growing with recent increases in traumatic events, including terrorism, there is a need for further research into such disorders beyond an examination of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a Boston University School of Public Health researcher says in a journal article.

Writing in Clinical Epidemiology, Dr. Jaimie Gradus, assistant professor of epidemiology at BU and a researcher with the National Center for PTSD of the VA Boston Health Care System, reviews the literature to date on the prevalence of stress disorders and urges that more research be done to obtain “a more complete picture of the impact all stress disorders have on the many people living with these diagnoses.” While there is a growing recognition of the importance of PTSD, she says, the literature on other diagnoses related to stressful or traumatic events is “scant.”

“With regard to specific prevalence estimates. . . the U.S. consistently has a higher documented prevalence of stress disorders, specifically PTSD, than other Westernized countries,” the review says. “Additional work is needed to examine the prevalence and incidence of stress disorders across populations and time and elucidate the causes of these differences.”

Dr. Gradus also calls for more research into the mechanisms through which stress disorders result in an increased mortality risk from suicide and other causes, and for more intervention and prevention efforts.

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