Predictors of traumatic experiences among individuals experiencing pandemic-related stressors : a cross-sectional study in Europe during the COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic is a manifestation of trauma exposure that could eventuate in psychological distress, anxiety, depression, and various mental health disturbances, especially in people who have experienced an additional stressor such as a traumatic event. This cross-sectional study assessed the relationship between pandemic-related stressors, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the risk for severe or life-threatening symptoms, and resilience among individuals with a traumatic history amidst the coronavirus disease.


This study is part of a longitudinal pan-European research, the ADJUST study. The present study consisted of 14.106 participants. The questionnaires utilized included: sociodemographics, health aspects, the Criterion A section of the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5), the Primary Care PTSD Screen for DSM-5 (PC-PTSD-5), the Pandemic Stressor Scale (PaSS), and the Resilience Evaluation Scale (RES). For the analysis, descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis were applied. 29% of the respondents reported a traumatic history. Fear of infection, burden of infection, crisis management and communication, restricted activity, risk for severe or life-threatening symptoms of the coronavirus disease, PTSD, and resilience were the predictive factors in the trauma-exposed population.


This research provides insights into the stressors that individuals with a traumatic background might experience through the COVID-19 pandemic. Future interventions and worldwide health policies should target trauma-exposed populations to enhance psychological health amidst COVID-19 and other stressful events.

Chrysanthi Lioupi, Xenia Anastassiou-Hadjicharalambous, Elena Acquarini, Dean Ajdukovic, Vittoria Ardino, Maria Böttche, Małgorzata Dragan, Margarida Figueiredo-Braga, Odeta Gelezelyte, Piotr Grajewski, Jana Darejan Javakhishvili, Evaldas Kazlauskas, Lonneke Lenferink, Brigitte Lueger-Schuster, Lela Tsiskarishvili, Trudy Mooren, Luisa Sales, Marina Ajdukovic, Irina Zrnic Novakovic, Rakel Eklund, Ida Hensler, Ingo Schäfer & Annett Lotzin | 2023
In: Current Psychology ; ISSN: 1046-1310
Online ahead of print doi: 10.1007/s12144-023-05036-8
COVID-19 (en), Epidemics, Instruments, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Predictors, Psychotrauma, PTSD (DSM-5), PTSD (en), Research, Resilience, Stressors
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