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PTSD and depression following armed robbery: Patterns of appearance and impact on absenteeism and use of health care services

Authors

  • Geneviève Belleville,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre d'Étude du Trauma, Centre de Recherche Fernand-Seguin, Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine, Québec, Montréal, Canada
    2. Département de Psychologie, Université du Québec à Montréal, Québec, Montréal, Canada
    Current affiliation:
    1. École de Psychologie, Université Laval. Marie-Hélène St-Hilaire is now at Centre d'Éducation en Psychologie
    • École de Psychologie, Université Laval, 2325, Rue des Bibliothèques, Québec, G1V 0A6, Canada.
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  • André Marchand,

    1. Centre d'Étude du Trauma, Centre de Recherche Fernand-Seguin, Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine, Québec, Montréal, Canada
    2. Département de Psychologie, Université du Québec à Montréal, Québec, Montréal, Canada
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  • Marie-Hélène St-Hilaire,

    1. Centre d'Étude du Trauma, Centre de Recherche Fernand-Seguin, Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine, Québec, Montréal, Canada
    2. Département de Psychologie, Université du Québec à Montréal, Québec, Montréal, Canada
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  • Mélissa Martin,

    1. Centre d'Étude du Trauma, Centre de Recherche Fernand-Seguin, Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine, Québec, Montréal, Canada
    2. Département de Psychologie, Université du Québec à Montréal, Québec, Montréal, Canada
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  • Cidalia Silva

    1. Centre d'Étude du Trauma, Centre de Recherche Fernand-Seguin, Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine, Québec, Montréal, Canada
    2. Département de Psychologie, Université du Québec à Montréal, Québec, Montréal, Canada
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  • The study was supported by a research grant from the Institut de Recherche en Santé et Sécurité au Travail du Québec awarded to André Marchand.

Abstract

Armed robbery is a sudden, life-threatening event affecting the victims' mental health. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) in this population have rarely been studied. The objectives of the study were to assess the occurrence of PTSD and MDD in victims of armed robbery, and to evaluate occupational functioning and use of health care services. Eighty-six convenience store employees, victims of armed robbery, were evaluated within days after the robbery, and 1 and 3 months after. A validated diagnostic interview (SCID-I) was used. Data about sick leave, absenteeism, and use of health care services were collected. The total number of individuals who had PTSD, MDD, or both at any time during the 3 months following the robbery was 1 (2%), 4 (6%), and 5 (8%), respectively, showing that comorbid PTSD–MDD is as frequent as or even more frequent than either disorder in isolation. Individuals with PTSD (with or without comorbid MDD) reported more absenteeism (η2p = .25) and more medical visits (η2p = .12) following the robbery. Clinicians and management resources personnel must be alert to the possibility that both PTSD and MDD, either alone or comorbid, can develop in victims of armed robbery.

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