A developing body of knowledge on the health effects of trauma reveals that that individuals exposed to trauma are at increased risk for pain, depression, and PTSD. However, these studies may be biased by recruitment from specialty clinics and shelter-based samples rather than from the community. They are further limited in their reliance on single-item measures of symptoms and simple symptom checklists rather than depth in exploration of symptom clusters that typically characterize actual health problems. Furthermore, in a comprehensive review of the health effects of trauma, Green and Kimerling and others concluded that there are gender-based differences in posttraumatic responses, with women reporting more symptoms and poorer health. However, our overall understanding of women’s physical and psychological responses to trauma lacks depth when it comes to the most common posttraumatic health consequences mainly chronic pain, depression, and PTSD. To address this gap in knowledge, a community-based sample of Mexican women will be recruited to accomplish the following specific aims of this pilot study:
- Describe lifetime trauma exposure, chronic pain, depressive symptoms, and PTSD in women sampled at random from the 10 districts in Mexico.
- Explore the relationship among each type of trauma exposure and chronic pain, depressive symptoms, and PTSD.
- Explore the relationship between number of trauma exposures and chronic pain, depressive symptoms, and PTSD.
Seventy-five women will be randomly selected using census data from each of the 10 districts of Mexico City. Social work and nursing faculty and students working in pairs will collect data from participants using the Lifetime Stressor Checklist-Revised, the Brief Pain Inventory: Long Form, Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, and the Modified PTSD Symptom Scale.
Better understanding of how chronic pain, depressive symptoms, and PTSD interact will help healthcare professionals to tailor future intervention studies.