Past Experiences of Getting Bullied and Assaulted and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) After a Severe Traumatic Event in Adulthood: A Study of World Trade Center (WTC) Responders
Although experiencing bullying and other forms of assault is associated with adverse physical, emotional, and psychological consequences, the long-term consequences, especially in the aftermath of a severe trauma in adulthood, is not known. This study examined the relationship between history of being bullied and/or assaulted and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among responders to the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster. During 2015–16, a modified life events checklist was administered to responders at Stony Brook WTC Health Program. WTC-related PTSD symptoms were assessed by PTSD checklist (PCL). Longitudinal mixed models examined associations between bullying, other forms of assault, and severity and chronicity of PTSD symptoms. Approximately 13% of 920 responders had probable WTC-PTSD (PCL≥44). Being bullied in childhood was associated with increased odds of WTC-PTSD (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] =7.34; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.12–25.34), adjusted for demographics, other stressors, and WTC exposures. PTSD odds decreased over time among those not bullied (aOR 0.82; 95% CI: 0.73–0.92), but not among victims. Experiencing physical, sexual, or verbal assaults during adulthood, also had a significant association with WTC-PTSD (aOR 4.64; 95% CI: 1.98–10.92). Findings suggest being bullied in childhood and/or assaulted in adulthood can increase PTSD risk and progression after mass trauma.
Mukherjee, S., Clouston, S., Bromet, E., Leibowitz, G. S., Scott, S. B., Bernard, K., Kotov, R., ... Luft, B. (January 01, 2020). Past Experiences of Getting Bullied and Assaulted and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) After a Severe Traumatic Event in Adulthood: A Study of World Trade Center (WTC) Responders. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 29, 2, 167-185.