Predictors and severity of probable acute stress disorder following the Beirut Port Blast

Year: 2022
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Karam E, Saab D, Al Barathie J, Karam AN, Karam G, Bryant R


Background: The Beirut Port Blast on August 4, 2020 is the largest (non-nuclear) explosion on record. St George Hospital University Medical Center (SGHUMC), a leading academic medical centre in Lebanon, adjacent to the Port, sustained a massive loss in lives and infrastructure.

Objective: The current study uses the baseline data of an ongoing longitudinal study to explore the prevalence, severity, and predictors of probable Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) among health workers at SGHUMC following the blast.

Methods: In the context of COVID-19 tests administered 9-15 days after the blast, SGHUMC staff were asked to complete a questionnaire that included socio-demographic details, the Beirut Port Exposure Inventory, and the Acute Stress Disorder Scale (ASDS).

Results: A total of 570 health workers participated in the study. The prevalence of probable DSM-5 ASD [95%CI] was 38.34% [31.41; 45.32]. Many specific exposures were related, on a bivariate level, to ASD be it as a probable DSM-5 diagnosis or its severity as measured by the ASDS. A classification and regression tree (CART) analysis identified the highest risk predictors of probable DSM-5 ASD diagnosis to be: being a female, seeing dead or mutilated bodies, death of a close one, and being scared at the time of the explosion. Nurses carried the highest risks of all health workers with a probable DSM-5 ASD prevalence of 51.28%, (OR = 3.72 [95% CI: 2.22; 6.25]). Being scared at the time of the blast was the most single predictor of probable ASD.

Conclusion: Both the prevalence and severity of probable DSM-5 ASD in this sample are higher than most reported in the literature, which may be explained by the severity of the trauma and the ongoing stress in the context of the pandemic. Fear at the time of the explosion was independently the most predictive parameter of probable ASD.
European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 13:1, 2040232, DOI: 10.1080/20008198.2022.2040232




Beirut Port Blast, PTSD, acute stress disorder, explosion, trauma
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