Online Program

Epidemiology of trauma, life events, and hassles among the severely mentally ill

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Richard E. Adams, PhD, Department of Sociology, Kent State University, Kent, OH
Christian Ritter, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Rootstown, OH
Natalie Bonfine, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Rootstown, OH
Objective: A large percentage of people with a severe mental illness are survivors of trauma and experience numerous negative life events and daily hassles. This study examines how these events impact the quality of life for this population. Methods: We collected data, using face-to-face interviews, from a random sample of clients (N=214) receiving services from a mental health agency located in a large Midwestern City. Inclusion criteria were a diagnosis of severe mental illness, ability to give informed consent, living in the county serviced by the mental health agency, and able to communicate in English. Measures: We collected data on demographic characteristics, primary diagnosis, traumas, life events, daily hassles, and perceived quality of life. Independent t-tests and Chi-2 tests were used to assess how these negative events varied by diagnosis. We also estimated multivariate regression models relating diagnosis, trauma, life events, and hassles to perceived quality of life. Results: About 55% of the sample had a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia, 59% were White, 63% had a high school education or less, half had never been married, less than 15% were working, and almost 53% had experienced a traumatic event. Bivariate analysis showed that trauma did not vary by diagnosis, but number of negative live events and daily hassles did. Multivariate models indicated that traumas, life events, and hassles were related to perceived quality of life. Conclusion: Our sample of severely mentally ill individuals reported numerous traumatic and negative life events and daily hassles, which adversely affected their quality of life.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the role of traumatic and negative life events in the well-being of the severely mentally ill. Discuss the importance of demographic factors in the epidemiology of trauma and negative life events in this population.

Keyword(s): Mental Illness, Stress

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a Ph.D. with a research concentration on mental health. I conducted the analyses and helped develop the poster presentation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.