More research is needed to further our understanding of posttraumatic stress responses and comorbidity following myocardial infarction (MI), and to help us identify more clearly the personality traits which indicate that a person is more prone to developing post-MI posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This study aimed to 1) investigate the comorbidity of patients who suffered from different levels of posttraumatic stress disorder following myocardial infarction (i.e. post-MI PTSD), and 2) investigate to what extent patients with different levels of post-MI PTSD differed in their personality traits. One hundred and twenty MI patients from two general practices were recruited for the study. They were asked to complete the Posttraumatic Stress Diagnostic Scale (PDS), the General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ-28) and the NEO-Five Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). They were divided into a no-PTSD group, a partial-PTSD group and a full-PTSD group, according to the scores of the PDS. One hundred and sixteen members of the general public were also recruited for comparison purposes. They were asked to complete the GHQ-28. The results showed that patients with full-PTSD reported significantly more somatic problems, anxiety, social dysfunction and depression than the other two patient groups and the control group. When age, bypass surgery, mental health problems before MI and angioplasty were controlled for, patients with full-PTSD also reported greater symptom severity of the four GHQ subscales than the other two patient groups. Patients with full-PTSD were significantly more neurotic than those with no-PTSD and partial-PTSD. Patients with full-PTSD were less agreeable than patients with no-PTSD. Regression analyses showed that personality did not moderate the relationship between PTSD and comorbidity. To conclude, following MI, those with full-PTSD tend to report more severe comorbidity than those who have not developed PTSD fully. The former can also be distinguished from the latter by virtue of their specific personality traits.
- Myocardial infarction
- Posttraumatic stress