OBJECTIVE: Prior studies have indicated that exposure to potentially traumatic events (PTEs) may increase the risk of poor mental and physical health outcomes. This study's main goal is to examine the association between PTE exposures and having any past year mental disorder, substance use disorder (SUD), or functional impairment and to explore the moderating effects of age and gender on these associations in a nationally representative sample of civilian adults living in U.S. households.
METHOD: The sample included adults aged 18 or older ( n = 5,653) from the 2008-2012 Mental Health Surveillance Study.
RESULTS: PTE exposure was significantly associated with having any past year mental disorder and any past year SUD (odds ratio [OR] = 1.85, 95% CI [1.48, 2.32] and OR = 1.59, 95% CI [1.16, 2.18], respectively), as well as lower functioning scores as measured by the abbreviated World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS) and the Global Assessment of Functioning scale in models adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics. A single significant interaction ( p = .002) indicated that the magnitude of the PTE exposure-WHODAS-measured functional impairment association was stronger among females than males.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings from a nationally representative study of civilian adults living in U.S. households suggest that PTE exposure may have significant public health implications beyond those associated with the development of posttraumatic stress disorder. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).