Co-occurring posttraumatic stress and depression symptoms after sexual assault: A latent profile analysis Article

Au, TM, Dickstein, BD, Comer, JS et al. (2013). Co-occurring posttraumatic stress and depression symptoms after sexual assault: A latent profile analysis . JOURNAL OF AFFECTIVE DISORDERS, 149(1-3), 209-216. 10.1016/j.jad.2013.01.026

cited authors

  • Au, TM; Dickstein, BD; Comer, JS; Salters-Pedneault, K; Litz, BT



  • Background: Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression frequently co-occur, but their distinctiveness following trauma remains unclear. We examined patterns of PTSD and depression symptoms after sexual assault to evaluate the extent to which assault survivors primarily reported symptoms of both disorders or whether there were meaningfully distinct subgroups with discordant PTSD and depression symptoms. Methods: Latent profile analysis was used to examine self-reported PTSD and depression symptoms among 119 female sexual assault survivors at 1-, 2-, 3-, and 4-months post-assault. Results: At all time points, a 4-class solution fit the data best, revealing four subgroups with low, low-moderate, high-moderate, and severe levels of both PTSD and depression symptoms. Within each subgroup, PTSD symptom severity co-occurred with comparable depression symptom severity. At no time point were there reliable subgroups with discordant PTSD and depression symptom severities. Emotional numbing, hyperarousal, and overall PTSD symptom severity reliably distinguished each class from the others. Class membership at 1-month post-assault predicted subsequent class membership and functional impairment. Limitations: Additional research is needed to evaluate predictors of class membership, temporal stability of classes, and generalizability to other trauma populations. Conclusions: Co-occurring and comparably severe PTSD and depression symptoms are pervasive among female sexual assault survivors. The absence of a distinct subset of individuals with only PTSD or depression symptoms suggests that PTSD and depression may be manifestations of a general posttraumatic stress response rather than distinct disorders after trauma. Integrated treatments targeting both PTSD and depression symptoms may therefore prove more efficient and effective.

publication date

  • July 1, 2013

published in

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 209

end page

  • 216


  • 149


  • 1-3