Which groups affected by Potentially Traumatic Events (PTEs) are most at risk for a lack of social support? A prospective population-based study on the 12-month prevalence of PTEs and risk factors for a lack of post-event social support

Little is known about the 12-month prevalence of potentially traumatic events (PTEs) and to what extent the type of PTE is a risk factor for post-event lack of social support. In addition, it is largely unknown if pre-event mental health problems and loneliness, and demographics are risk factors for a lack of support. Aim of the present prospective study is to fill these gaps in evidence-based knowledge.
A survey was conducted among a large random sample of the Dutch adult population (i.e. the longitudinal LISS panel) in March-April 2018, and linked with pre-event mental health and loneliness data from surveys conducted in 2016 (n = 5,879). We distinguished four forms of perceived social support: emotional and esteem support, and social recognition and general disapproval.
Loss of a significant other and/or colleague (28%) was the most prevalent 12-month PTE. The 12-month prevalence of violence, accidents and/or, and theft-related events was 13%. Multivariate logistic regression analyses revealed no differences in lack of emotional and esteem support, or in lack of recognition across non-death PTEs and death-related PTEs. However, victims of threat and physical (sexual) violence more often faced disapproval than those affected by burglary and accidents. Results furthermore showed that pre-event mental health problems, pre-event loneliness and stress during the PTE were important independent predictors of forms of support and acknowledgment. Affected individuals with a non-Western background more often lacked support and acknowledgment.
Many adults are confronted with a PTE during a year. In general, pre-event factors and stress during the event are better predictors of a perceived lack of support and acknowledgment than type of event. Early screening programs should especially assess pre-event mental health and loneliness, besides levels of stress during the event, to identify affected people who are at risk for a lack of social support and acknowledgment.


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Peter G. van der Velden, Ivan Komproe, Carlo Contino, Marika de Bruijne, Rolf J. Kleber, Marcel Das, Henk Schut | 2020
In: Plos One ; ISSN 1932-6203 | 15 | 5 | may | e0232477
Open Access
Accidents, Anxiety Symptoms, Awareness, Depressive Symptoms, Disclosure, Effects, Life Experiences, Mental health, Netherlands, Physical Pain, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Potentially Traumatic Events (PTEs), Practice based evidence (PBE) (en), Predictors, Prevention, Psychotrauma, PTSD (DSM-5), PTSD (en), Research, Self Esteem, Social Support, Violence
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