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Stress response and experiential avoidance among firefighters: Preliminary insights from network analyses

Blekić, Wivine; Ben Taieb, Souhaib; Kandana Arachchige, Kendra G; Rossignol, Mandy; Schultebraucks, Katharina
Firefighters are at increased risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to exposure to potentially traumatic events during their careers. However, little is known about the prevalence of PTSD among this population, particularly when taking moderating variables into account. Using Gaussian Graphical Models and Directed Acyclic Graphs, we conducted network analyses to examine the interactions between clusters of PTSD symptoms, perceived stress, hardiness, and experiential avoidance among 187 firefighters. The data and code are published with the paper. Experiential avoidance, as part of psychological inflexibility, was found to be the only variable that interacted with PTSD symptomatology. Strong positive associations were observed between experiential avoidance and the "negative mood and cognitions" subscale of the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5). Through this association, other PTSD symptoms were activated, particularly avoidance and arousal. Our findings suggest that experiential avoidance and negative mood and cognition symptoms are particularly important in the expression of PTSD symptomatology in firefighters. In addition, experiential avoidance may be used as a coping strategy to reduce perceived stress during potentially traumatic events. Therefore, experiential avoidance may be a prime target for future interventions and training focused on flexible self-regulation strategies in this population.
PMID: 37499484
ISSN: 1879-1379
CID: 5618872

Racial differences in COVID-19 severity associated with history of substance use disorders and overdose: Findings from multi-site electronic health records in New York City

Allen, Bennett; Basaraba, Cale; Corbeil, Thomas; Rivera, Bianca; Levin, Frances R; Martinez, Diana M; Schultebraucks, Katharina; Henry, Brandy F; Pincus, Harold A; Arout, Caroline; Krawczyk, Noa
Substance use disorders (SUD) are associated with increased risk of worse COVID-19 outcomes. Likewise, racial/ethnic minority patients experience greater risk of severe COVID-19 disease compared to white patients. Providers should understand the role of race and ethnicity as an effect modifier on COVID-19 severity among individuals with SUD. This retrospective cohort study assessed patient race/ethnicity as an effect modifier of the risk of severe COVID-19 disease among patients with histories of SUD and overdose. We used merged electronic health record data from 116,471 adult patients with a COVID-19 encounter between March 2020 and February 2021 across five healthcare systems in New York City. Exposures were patient histories of SUD and overdose. Outcomes were risk of COVID-19 hospitalization and subsequent COVID-19-related ventilation, acute kidney failure, sepsis, and mortality. Risk factors included patient age, sex, and race/ethnicity, as well as medical comorbidities associated with COVID-19 severity. We tested for interaction between SUD and patient race/ethnicity on COVID-19 outcomes. Findings showed that Non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian/Pacific Islander patients experienced a higher prevalence of all adverse COVID-19 outcomes compared to non-Hispanic white patients. Past-year alcohol (OR 1.24 [1.01-1.53]) and opioid use disorders (OR 1.91 [1.46-2.49]), as well as overdose history (OR 4.45 [3.62-5.46]), were predictive of COVID-19 mortality, as well as other adverse COVID-19 outcomes. Among patients with SUD, significant differences in outcome risk were detected between patients of different race/ethnicity groups. Findings indicate that providers should consider multiple dimensions of vulnerability to adequately manage COVID-19 disease among populations with SUDs.
PMID: 37146730
ISSN: 1096-0260
CID: 5472432

COVID-19 complications among patients with opioid use disorder: A retrospective cohort study across five major NYC hospital systems

Krawczyk, Noa; Rivera, Bianca D; Basaraba, Cale; Corbeil, Thomas; Allen, Bennett; Schultebraucks, Katharina; Henry, Brandy F; Pincus, Harold A; Levin, Frances R; Martinez, Diana
BACKGROUND AND AIMS/OBJECTIVE:Individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD) suffer disproportionately from COVID-19. To inform clinical management of OUD patients, research is needed to identify characteristics associated with COVID-19 progression and death among this population. We aimed to investigate the role of OUD and specific comorbidities on COVID-19 progression among hospitalized OUD patients. DESIGN/METHODS:Retrospective cohort study of merged electronic health records (EHR) from five large private health systems SETTING: New York City, New York, USA, 2011-2021 PARTICIPANTS: Adults with a COVID-19 encounter and OUD or opioid overdose diagnosis between March 2020-February 2021 MEASUREMENTS: Primary exposure included diagnosis of OUD/opioid overdose. Risk factors included age, sex, race/ethnicity and common medical, substance use and psychiatric co-morbidities known to be associated with COVID-19 severity. Outcomes included COVID-19 hospitalization and subsequent intubation, acute kidney failure, severe sepsis and death. FINDINGS/RESULTS:Of 110,917 COVID-19+ adults, 1.17% were ever diagnosed with OUD/opioid overdose. OUD patients had higher risk of COVID-19 hospitalization (adjusted risk ratio [aRR]: 1.40 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.33, 1.47]), intubation (adjusted aood ratio [aOR]: 2.05 [95% CI 1.74, 2.42]), kidney failure (aRR: 1.51 [95% CI 1.34, 1.70)), sepsis (aRR: 2.30 [95% CI 1.88, 2.81]), and death (aRR: 2.10 [95% CI 1.84, 2.40)]. Among hospitalized OUD patients, risks for COVID-19 outcomes included being male; older; of a race/ethnicity other than white, Black or Hispanic; and having co-morbid chronic kidney disease, diabetes, obesity or cancer. Protective factors included having asthma, hepatitis-C, and chronic pain. CONCLUSIONS:Opioid use disorder patients appears to have a substantial risk for COVID-19-associated morbidity and mortality, with particular comorbidities and treatments potentially moderating this risk.
PMID: 36459420
ISSN: 1360-0443
CID: 5383762

The impact of preexisting psychiatric disorders and antidepressant use on COVID-19 related outcomes: a multicenter study

Schultebraucks, Katharina; Blekic, Wivine; Basaraba, Cale; Corbeil, Tom; Khan, Zain; Henry, Brandy F; Krawczyk, Noa; Rivera, Bianca D; Allen, Bennett; Arout, Caroline; Pincus, Harold Alan; Martinez, Diana M; Levin, Frances R
Pre-existing mental disorders are linked to COVID-19-related outcomes. However, the findings are inconsistent and a thorough analysis of a broader spectrum of outcomes such as COVID-19 infection severity, morbidity, and mortality is required. We investigated whether the presence of psychiatric diagnoses and/or the use of antidepressants influenced the severity of the outcome of COVID-19. This retrospective cohort study evaluated electronic health records from the INSIGHT Clinical Research Network in 116,498 individuals who were diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 1, 2020, and February 23, 2021. We examined hospitalization, intubation/mechanical ventilation, acute kidney failure, severe sepsis, and death as COVID-19-related outcomes. After using propensity score matching to control for demographics and medical comorbidities, we used contingency tables to assess whether patients with (1) a history of psychiatric disorders were at higher risk of more severe COVID-19-related outcomes and (2) if use of antidepressants decreased the risk of more severe COVID-19 infection. Pre-existing psychiatric disorders were associated with an increased risk for hospitalization, and subsequent outcomes such as acute kidney failure and severe sepsis, including an increased risk of death in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders or bipolar disorders. The use of antidepressants was associated with significantly reduced risk of sepsis (p = 0.033), death (p = 0.026). Psychiatric disorder diagnosis prior to a COVID-19-related healthcare encounter increased the risk of more severe COVID-19-related outcomes as well as subsequent health complications. However, there are indications that the use of antidepressants might decrease this risk. This may have significant implications for the treatment and prognosis of patients with COVID-19.
PMID: 37069343
ISSN: 1476-5578
CID: 5458612

Oxytocin vs. placebo effects on intrusive memory consolidation using a trauma film paradigm: a randomized, controlled experimental study in healthy women

Maslahati, Tolou; Wingenfeld, Katja; Hellmann-Regen, Julian; Kraft, Julia; Lyu, Jing; Keinert, Marie; Voß, Aline; Cho, An Bin; Ripke, Stephan; Otte, Christian; Schultebraucks, Katharina; Roepke, Stefan
Oxytocin administration during a trauma analogue has been shown to increase intrusive memories, which are a core symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, it is unknown whether oxytocin influences the acquisition or the consolidation of the trauma. The current study investigates the effect of the activation of the oxytocin system during the consolidation of an analogue trauma on the formation of intrusive memories over four consecutive days and whether this effect is influenced by individual neurobiological, genetic, or psychological factors. We conducted a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study in 217 healthy women. They received either a single dose of intranasal oxytocin (24 IU) or placebo after exposure to a trauma film paradigm, which reliably induces intrusive memories. We used a general random forest to examine a potential heterogeneous treatment effect of oxytocin on the consolidation of intrusive memories. Furthermore, we used a poisson regression to examine whether salivary alpha amylase activity (sAA) as a marker of noradrenergic activity and cortisol response to the film, polygenic risk score (PRS) for psychiatric disorders, and psychological factors influence the number of intrusive memories. We found no significant effect of oxytocin on the formation of intrusive memories (F(2, 543.16) = 0.75, p = 0.51, ηp2 = 0.00) and identified no heterogeneous treatment effect. We replicated previous associations of the PRS for PTSD, sAA and the cortisol response on intrusive memories. We further found a positive association between high trait anxiety and intrusive memories, and a negative association between the emotion regulation strategy reappraisal and intrusive memories. Data of the present study suggest that the consolidation of intrusive memories in women is modulated by genetic, neurobiological and psychological factors, but is not influenced by oxytocin. Trial registration: NCT03875391.
PMID: 36739422
ISSN: 2158-3188
CID: 5426842

Development and validation of a brief screener for posttraumatic stress disorder risk in emergency medical settings

Schultebraucks, K; Stevens, J S; Michopoulos, V; Maples-Keller, J; Lyu, J; Smith, R N; Rothbaum, B O; Ressler, K J; Galatzer-Levy, I R; Powers, A
OBJECTIVE:Predicting risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the acute care setting is challenging given the pace and acute care demands in the emergency department (ED) and the infeasibility of using time-consuming assessments. Currently, no accurate brief screening for long-term PTSD risk is routinely used in the ED. One instrument widely used in the ED is the 27-item Immediate Stress Reaction Checklist (ISRC). The aim of this study was to develop a short screener using a machine learning approach and to investigate whether accurate PTSD prediction in the ED can be achieved with substantially fewer items than the IRSC. METHOD/METHODS:This prospective longitudinal cohort study examined the development and validation of a brief screening instrument in two independent samples, a model development sample (N = 253) and an external validation sample (N = 93). We used a feature selection algorithm to identify a minimal subset of features of the ISRC and tested this subset in a predictive model to investigate if we can accurately predict long-term PTSD outcomes. RESULTS:We were able to identify a reduced subset of 5 highly predictive features of the ISRC in the model development sample (AUC = 0.80), and we were able to validate those findings in the external validation sample (AUC = 0.84) to discriminate non-remitting vs. resilient trajectories. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:This study developed and validated a brief 5-item screener in the ED setting, which may help to improve the diagnostic process of PTSD in the acute care setting and help ED clinicians plan follow-up care when patients are still in contact with the healthcare system. This could reduce the burden on patients and decrease the risk of chronic PTSD.
PMID: 36764261
ISSN: 1873-7714
CID: 5427002

Validation and Adaptation of the Attentional Control Scale Among a French-Speaking Population Through Factor and Network Analysis

Blekic, Wivine; Belleart, Nellia; Rossignol, Mandy; Schultebraucks, Katharina
The Attentional Control Scale (ACS) is a widely used self-reported assessment of attentional control. Due to the importance of those executive processes in the phenomenology of mood-related disorders, the ACS has been translated in multiple languages. Our purpose was to explore psychometric properties of two versions of the French ACS. In study 1, 455 participants completed the original ACS, which yielded excellent fit to a two-dimensional model (CFI = 0.972). However, as one factor contained in majority reversed coded items, this raised question about its validity. A second sample (N = 452) therefore completed a modified version of the ACS without reverse-coded items, which also yielded excellent fit to a two-dimensional model (CFI = 0.970). Finally, network analyses explored the relations between the ACS and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and resilience. Our results support the use of the French version of the ACS with items coded in a straightforward manner.
ISSN: 0882-2689
CID: 5501632

Correction to: Validation and Adaptation of the Attentional Control Scale Among a French-Speaking Population Through Factor and Network Analysis (Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, (2023), 10.1007/s10862-023-10050-y)

Blekic, Wivine; Bellaert, Nellia; Rossignol, Mandy; Schultebraucks, Katharina
The originally published version of this article contained mistake and the authors would like to correct it. The error concerns the name of one of the authors. In the original publication, the author"™s name was misspelled as "Belleart." However, the correct spelling should be "Bellaert." The authors would like to apologize for this oversight and would like to rectify the mistake through this Erratum. The original article has been corrected.
ISSN: 0882-2689
CID: 5550022

Effects of oral contraceptives on intrusive memories: a secondary analysis of two studies using the trauma film paradigm in healthy women

Maslahati, Tolou; Schultebraucks, Katharina; Galve Gómez, Milagros; Hellmann-Regen, Julian; Otte, Christian; Wingenfeld, Katja; Roepke, Stefan
PMID: 38039055
ISSN: 2000-8066
CID: 5590462

Traumatic stress symptoms in family caregivers of patients with acute leukaemia: protocol for a multisite mixed methods, longitudinal, observational study

Jibb, Lindsay A; Nanos, Stephanie M; Alexander, Sarah; Malfitano, Carmine; Rydall, Anne; Gupta, Sumit; Schimmer, Aaron D; Zimmermann, Camilla; Hales, Sarah; Nissim, Rinat; Marmar, Charles; Schultebraucks, Katharina; Mah, Kenneth; Rodin, Gary
INTRODUCTION:The diagnosis, progression or recurrence of cancer is often highly traumatic for family caregivers (FCs), but systematic assessments of distress and approaches for its prevention and treatment are lacking. Acute leukaemia (AL) is a life-threatening cancer of the blood, which most often presents acutely, requires intensive treatment and is associated with severe physical symptoms. Consequently, traumatic stress may be common in the FCs of patients with AL. We aim to determine the prevalence, severity, longitudinal course and predictors of traumatic stress symptoms in FCs of patients with AL in the first year after diagnosis, and to understand their lived experience of traumatic stress and perceived support needs. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:This two-site longitudinal, observational, mixed methods study will recruit 223 adult FCs of paediatric or adult patients newly diagnosed with AL from two tertiary care centres. Quantitative data will be collected from self-report questionnaires at enrolment, and 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after admission to hospital for initial treatment. Quantitative data will be analysed using descriptive and machine learning approaches and a multilevel modelling (MLM) approach will be used to confirm machine learning findings. Semi-structured qualitative interviews will be conducted at 3, 6 and 12 months and analysed using a grounded theory approach. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:This study is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR number PJT 173255) and has received ethical approval from the Ontario Cancer Research Ethics Board (CTO Project ID: 2104). The data generated have the potential to inform the development of targeted psychosocial interventions for traumatic stress, which is a public health priority for high-risk populations such as FCs of patients with haematological malignancies. An integrated and end-of-study knowledge translation strategy that involves FCs and other stakeholders will be used to interpret and disseminate study results.
PMID: 36332954
ISSN: 2044-6055
CID: 5365212