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Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Associated Comorbidity During the COVID‐19 Pandemic in Ireland: A Population‐Based Study

  • Karatzias, Thanos1, 2
  • Shevlin, Mark3
  • Murphy, Jamie3
  • McBride, Orla3
  • Ben‐Ezra, Menachem4
  • Bentall, Richard P.5
  • Vallières, Frédérique6
  • Hyland, Philip7
  • 1 Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland , (United Kingdom)
  • 2 NHS Lothian, Scotland , (United Kingdom)
  • 3 Ulster University
  • 4 Ariel University, Israel , (Israel)
  • 5 University of Sheffield, England , (United Kingdom)
  • 6 Trinity College Dublin, Ireland , (Ireland)
  • 7 Maynooth University, Ireland , (Ireland)
Published Article
Journal of Traumatic Stress
Wiley (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
Jul 13, 2020
DOI: 10.1002/jts.22565
PMID: 32662129
PMCID: PMC7405473
PubMed Central
External links


The prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as it relates to individuals’ experiences of the COVID‐19 pandemic has yet to be determined. This study was conducted to determine rates of COVID‐19–related PTSD in the Irish general population, the level of comorbidity with depression and anxiety, and the sociodemographic risk factors associated with COVID‐19–related PTSD. A nationally representative sample of adults from the general population of the Republic of Ireland ( N = 1,041) completed self‐report measures of all study variables. The rate of COVID‐19–related PTSD was 17.7% ( n = 184), 95% CI [15.35%, 19.99%], and there was a high level of comorbidity with generalized anxiety (49.5%) and depression (53.8%). Meeting the diagnostic requirement for COVID‐19–related PTSD was associated with younger age, male sex, living in a city, living with children, moderate and high perceived risk of COVID‐19 infection, and screening positive for anxiety or depression. Posttraumatic stress symptoms related to the COVID‐19 pandemic are common in the general population. Our results show that health professionals responsible for responding to the COVID‐19 pandemic should expect to routinely encounter symptoms and concerns related to posttraumatic stress.

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