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Original Research

Factors Associated With Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms 3 and 6 Months After Hospitalization for COVID-19: A Longitudinal Multicenter Study

Victor Pitron, MD, PhDa,b,‡,*; Willys Cantenys, MDc,‡; Anne Herbelin, MScc; Hugo Bottemanne, MDc,d; Nathalie Dzierzynski, MDe; Eric Caumes, MD, PhDf; Alexis Mathian, MD, PhDg; Zahir Amoura, MD, PhDg; Yves Allenbach, MD, PhDh,i,j; Patrice Cacoub, MD, PhDh,i,j; Antoine Parrot, MDk; Jean-Yves Rotgé, MD, PhDc,d; and Philippe Fossati, MD, PhDc,d

Published: December 7, 2022


Objective: To identify factors associated with posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) 3 and 6 months after the discharge of patients hospitalized for COVID-19.

Methods: Patients hospitalized for COVID-19 between March 1 and July 31, 2020, were included in a longitudinal study. Clinical assessments were conducted with online auto-questionnaires. PTSS were assessed with the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist Scale (PCLS). We screened for several putative factors associated with PTSS, including socio-demographic status, hospitalization in an intensive care unit, history of psychiatric disorder, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Peritraumatic Dissociative Experiences Questionnaire, and the home-to-hospital distance. Bivariate and multilinear regression analyses were performed to evaluate their association with PTSS.

Results: 119 patients were evaluated 3 months after hospital discharge, and a subset of 94 were evaluated 6 months after discharge. The prevalence of PTSS was 31.9% after 3 months and 30.9% after 6 months. Symptoms of anxiety and depression and history of psychiatric disorder were independently associated with PTSS. Additionally, dissociative experiences during hospitalization (β = 0.35; P < .001) and a longer home-to-hospital distance (β = 0.07; P = .017) were specifically associated with PTSS 3 and 6 months after discharge, respectively.

Conclusions: Patients with COVID-19 showed persistent high scores of PTSS up to 6 months after discharge from the hospital. In this specific pandemic setting, PTSS were associated with high rates of dissociative experiences during hospitalization and a longer home-to-hospital distance due to the saturation of health care facilities. These results can foster early identification and better prevention of PTSS after hospitalization for COVID-19.

Trial Registration: identifier: NCT04362930

Volume: 84

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