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Penn Nursing > Media > Veterans and PTSD > Violence and PTSD

Violence and PTSD

Therese S. Richmond, PhD, CRNP, FAAN

Andrea B. Laporte Endowed Term Associate Professor of Nursing

A leader in injury science, Dr. Therese Richmond conducts pioneering research on the psychological effects of injury and how to address those effects. Dr. Richmond explains that it is essential for caregivers to acknowledge that emotional trauma is inherent in almost every injury.  In a National Institutes of Health-funded study, Dr. Richmond found that even among patients who had relatively minor injuries, a substantial number had depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) a year or more after the injury.

“We should definitely be paying attention to the psychological effects of injury,” says Dr. Richmond.  “At the same time, you don’t need physical injury to be psychologically harmed. The effects of PTSD reach deep and wide and are costly in social and economic terms.”

To better identify PTSD, Dr. Richmond has created an eight-question survey – the first of its kind -- to help predict which of the 30 million Americans seeking hospital treatment for injuries each year may develop depression or PTSD. In General Hospital Psychiatry, Dr. Richmond and colleagues report that “depression and PTSD exert a significant, independent, and persistent effects on general health, work status, somatic symptoms, adjustment to illness, and function after injury.” They emphasize that even minor injuries can lead to traumatic stress responses. The findings allow healthcare providers to identify patients at highest risk for developing these disorders and to target appropriate resources to this vulnerable group.

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Related Publications

The effect of post-injury depression on return to pre-injury function: a prospective cohort study
(October 2009)

Military veteran mortality following a survived suicide attempt
(May 2011)

Predicting the future development of depression or PTSD after injury
(June 2011)