For a study, researchers sought to understand the relationship between potentially traumatic events (PTEs), PSS severity, and the protective effect of social support. Investigators wanted to see if childhood, adulthood, and recent PTEs are associated with PSS burden over 4 years of follow-up if multiple and cumulative (in childhood and adulthood) PTE exposures were associated with PSS burden and if social support modifies these associations. Longitudinal data from 322 PSS patients were analyzed. PTEs (Life Events Questionnaire) and social support (Social Support Scale) were assessed at the outset. PSS was measured in symptom severity (PHQ-15) and physical functioning (RAND-36 PCS) 6 times over 4 years. Longitudinal mixed model analysis was used to examine the relationships. Over 4 years, patients with multiple childhood PTEs had a higher burden of PSS. Adulthood PTEs were associated with the burden of PSS in patients who had childhood PTEs but not in patients who did not. Recent PTEs did not affect the burden over time. None of the associations was altered by social support. In addition to the well-known association with the onset of PSS, PTEs were associated with a higher burden of PSS over time. PTEs in childhood and adulthood and cumulative exposure to PTEs are associated with a higher burden over time in patients with PSS. Social support did not affect the associations.
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