Temporal Transitions in Patterns of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Depression Among Adolescents Following the Wenchuan Earthquake

  • Xiao Zhou
  • Xinchun WuEmail author
Original Article


Posttramatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression are persistent disorders with heterogeneous comorbidity. Cross-sectional design limitations have prevented previous studies from examining symptom pattern transitions, which limits the understanding on the change of mental health over time since trauma. This study examined transition patterns of PTSD and depression comorbidity and assessed the role of personality. PTSD, depression, and personality scales were used to assess 619 adolescents 1 year after the Wenchuan earthquake and then to longitudinally assess 332 adolescents 2 years post-earthquake. Data were analyzed using latent transition analysis and logistic regression. Four PTSD and depression comorbidity patterns were identified at both times: moderate comorbidity, high comorbidity, no symptoms, and depression. Patterns of PTSD and depression changed in 23.4% of adolescents: 4.4% and 7.1% transitioned from no symptoms to depression and from depression to moderate comorbidity, respectively; 7.5% transitioned from moderate comorbidity to depression. Extraversion and conscientiousness were more likely and openness was less likely to be associated with moderate comorbidity symptoms transitioned to depression symptoms. These findings indicated that patterns of PTSD and depression in adolescents are heterogeneous and show temporal change.


Transition analysis Patterns PTSD Depression Adolescents 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Behavioral SciencesZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Beijing Key Laboratory of Applied Experimental Psychology, Faculty of PsychologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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