War exposure, posttraumatic stress disorder, and complex posttraumatic stress disorder among parents living in Ukraine during the Russian war

Thanos Karatzias, Mark Shevlin, Menachem Ben‐Ezra, Eoin McElroy, Enya Redican, Maria Louison Vang, Marylene Cloitre, Grace W. K. Ho, Boris Lorberg, Dmytro Martsenkovskyi, Philip Hyland

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Abstract

Background: High rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been documented in war‐affected populations. The prevalence of Complex PTSD (CPTSD) has never been assessed in an active war zone. Here, we provide initial data on war‐related experiences, and prevalence rates of ICD‐11 PTSD and CPTSD in a large sample of adults in Ukraine during the Russian war. We also examined how war‐related stressors, PTSD, and CPTSD were associated with age, sex, and living location in Ukraine. Method: Self‐report data were gathered from a nationwide sample of 2004 adult parents of children under 18 from the general population of Ukraine approximately 6 months after Russia's invasion. Results: All participants were exposed to at least one war‐related stressor, and the mean number of exposures was 9.07 (range = 1–26). Additionally, 25.9% (95% CI = 23.9%, 27.8%) met diagnostic requirements for PTSD and 14.6% (95% CI = 12.9%, 16.0%) met requirements for CPTSD. There was evidence of a strong dose–response relationship between war‐related stressors and meeting criteria for PTSD and CPTSD. Participants who had the highest exposure to war‐related stressors were significantly more likely to meet the requirements for PTSD (OR = 4.20; 95% CI = 2.96–5.95) and CPTSD (OR = 8.12; 95% CI = 5.11–12.91) compared to the least exposed. Conclusions: Humanitarian responses to the mental health needs of the Ukrainian population will need to take account of posttraumatic stress reactions. Education in diagnosing and treating PTSD/CPTSD, especially in the situation of a significant lack of human resources and continuing displacement of the population, is necessary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-285
Number of pages10
JournalActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Volume147
Issue number3
Early online date10 Jan 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Funding Information:
We would like to thank Dr Vitaliy Ostropytskyy from Ulster University for his hard work in assisting with the translations of the psychological measures.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Keywords

  • complex posttraumatic stress disorder
  • parents
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Ukraine war
  • war‐related stressors
  • war-related stressors
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Humans
  • Self Report
  • War Exposure
  • Ukraine/epidemiology
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/diagnosis

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