Event Title

The Association between Socioeconomic Status, Trauma Exposure and PTSD

Mentor 1

Shawn Cahill

Location

Union Wisconsin Room

Start Date

29-4-2016 1:30 PM

End Date

29-4-2016 3:30 PM

Description

Census data indicate approximately 46.7 million people live under the poverty line. Equally important, low socioeconomic status (SES) has been associated with higher rates of exposure to trauma and subsequent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; Breslau et al., 1998). Furthermore, PTSD is associated with other adverse consequences, including susbtance use disorders, academic problems, poor physical health, and higher suicide rates (Nooner et al., 2012). The present study seeks to assess the relationship between SES and (1) exposure to trauma and (2) PTSD severity. Undergraduate students (N = 292) participated in an online survey in exchange for extra credit. Instruments included a demographic questionnaire, the Trauma History Screen, and the PTSD Checklist. Family income served as a proxy for SES. Results from a chi-square analysis indicate the probability of being exposed to trauma did not significantly vary by family income level, χ2 (6, n = 292) = 7.193, p = .303. Thus, the chances of being exposed to a traumatic event were not more likely for individuals from a low SES background. These results do not support previous findings that have shown an association between poverty and exposure to trauma. This may be due to differences in sample characteristics (e.g., students vs. general population), the presence of one or more confounding variables (e.g., age, gender), and possible truncation of SES range (e.g., individuals from lowest SES backgrounds may not be rerepesented in a college sample) . Regarding our second question, computatation of a Pearson’s correlation coefficient indicated family income was negatively correlated with PTSD severity (r = -0.16, p = 0.02). Thus, higher family income may serve as a protective factor. These results coincide with previous literature that hypothesized individuals from higher SES backgrounds have more resources to cope with traumatic events. Study findings will be discussed in light of study limitations.

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Apr 29th, 1:30 PM Apr 29th, 3:30 PM

The Association between Socioeconomic Status, Trauma Exposure and PTSD

Union Wisconsin Room

Census data indicate approximately 46.7 million people live under the poverty line. Equally important, low socioeconomic status (SES) has been associated with higher rates of exposure to trauma and subsequent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; Breslau et al., 1998). Furthermore, PTSD is associated with other adverse consequences, including susbtance use disorders, academic problems, poor physical health, and higher suicide rates (Nooner et al., 2012). The present study seeks to assess the relationship between SES and (1) exposure to trauma and (2) PTSD severity. Undergraduate students (N = 292) participated in an online survey in exchange for extra credit. Instruments included a demographic questionnaire, the Trauma History Screen, and the PTSD Checklist. Family income served as a proxy for SES. Results from a chi-square analysis indicate the probability of being exposed to trauma did not significantly vary by family income level, χ2 (6, n = 292) = 7.193, p = .303. Thus, the chances of being exposed to a traumatic event were not more likely for individuals from a low SES background. These results do not support previous findings that have shown an association between poverty and exposure to trauma. This may be due to differences in sample characteristics (e.g., students vs. general population), the presence of one or more confounding variables (e.g., age, gender), and possible truncation of SES range (e.g., individuals from lowest SES backgrounds may not be rerepesented in a college sample) . Regarding our second question, computatation of a Pearson’s correlation coefficient indicated family income was negatively correlated with PTSD severity (r = -0.16, p = 0.02). Thus, higher family income may serve as a protective factor. These results coincide with previous literature that hypothesized individuals from higher SES backgrounds have more resources to cope with traumatic events. Study findings will be discussed in light of study limitations.