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Family functioning, trauma exposure and PTSD: A cross sectional study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-652
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume245
Early online date5 Nov 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2019

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Abstract

Objective: Only a minority of trauma-exposed individuals go on to develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Previous studies in high income countries suggest that maladaptive family functioning adversities (MFFA) in childhood may partially explain individual variation in vulnerability to PTSD following trauma. We test in a lower middle-income setting (Sri Lanka) whether: (1) MFFA is associated with trauma exposure; (2) MFFA moderates the association between exposure to trauma and later (a) PTSD (b) other psychiatric diagnoses; and (3) any association between MFFA and PTSD is explained by experiences of interpersonal violence, cumulative trauma exposure or comorbid psychopathology.

Methods: We conducted a population study of 3995 twins and 2019 singletons residing in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Participants completed the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, including nine traumatic exposures and a questionnaire on MFFA.

Results: 23.4% of participants reported exposure to MFFA. We found that (1) MFFA was strongly associated with trauma exposure (2) MFFA moderates the association between trauma exposure and both (a) PTSD and (b) other DSM psychiatric diagnosis. (3) This was not explained by interpersonal violence, cumulative trauma exposure or other psychopathology.

Conclusions: MFFA moderates the association between trauma and PTSD, and the association between trauma and non-PTSD psychopathology.

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