Chronic and life-threatening illnesses, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), have been identified as significant stressors potentially triggering posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study aims to investigate the prevalence of PTSD according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) criteria in a large sample of patients with MS. A total of 988 patients with MS were screened with the Impact of Event Scale–Revised, and then assessed with the PTSD module of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV and with the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale to confirm PTSD diagnosis. Posttraumatic symptoms were reported by 25.5% of the sample. A confirmed diagnosis of PTSD was found in 5.7% of patients, but prevalence could reach 8.5%, including also dropout patients. Further studies are needed to evaluate if adjustment disorder could better encompass the frequently encountered subthreshold posttraumatic stress symptoms and how clinicians can deal with these symptoms with appropriate interventions.
*Clinical and Biological Sciences Department, and †Clinical Psychology and Psychosomatics Service, Mental Health Department, A.O.U. San Luigi Gonzaga, University of Turin; ‡Neurologia 2—CRESM (Centro Riferimento Regionale Sclerosi Multipla), A.O.U. San Luigi Gonzaga, Orbassano (TO); §Department of Mental Health, Azienda Sanitaria Locale Torino 3, Collegno (TO); ∥eCampus University, Novedrate (CO); ¶Department of Psychology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy; #Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; and **Clinical and Oncological Psychology, Città della Salute e della Scienza Hospital of Turin, Turin, Italy.
Send reprint requests to Sara Carletto, PhD, Clinical and Biological Sciences Department, University of Turin, Regione Gonzole 10, 10043 Orbassano (TO), Italy. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
L. O., S. C., and M. B. were responsible for the conception and the design of the study. S. C., M. B., D. F., M. L. P., and F. S. were responsible for the data collection. S. C., F. O., and F. P. were responsible for the data analysis. S. C. wrote the article, which was critically revised by M. B., D. F., F. S., M. L. P., M. C., F. P., A. B., F. O., and L. O. All the authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.