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Self-reported poor physical health is more common in older people with trauma exposure

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Question

Question

Is poor physical health in older people living in Germany linked to traumatic experiences?

Population

1456 older adults (aged 60–85) years living in Germany and able to understand and read German. These adults were part of a representative sample of the German population aged 14 and above. Participants were selected at random from randomly selected households in different regions of Germany. The sample aimed to be representative for age, gender and education. The current study only analysed data for the older participants, and excluded people with partial post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) syndromes, or with a full range of PTSD symptoms but without an indicated trauma.

Setting

General population, Germany; May and June 2008.

Assessment

A study assistant visited all participants, informed them about the study and distributed the self-report questionnaires, explaining the questions if necessary. The trauma list of the Munich Composite International Diagnostic Interview (PTSD module) was used to assess experience of eight traumatic events (including rape, natural disaster, attack, injury or torture, war or other traumatic event (eg, severe illness)). PTSD symptoms experienced in the previous month were assessed using part 3 of the 17-item Post-traumatic Diagnostic Scale (PTDS). People were considered to have PTSD if they had experienced a traumatic event and met DSM-IVPTSD diagnostic criteria B, C and D. …

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