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Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria

versión impresa ISSN 1516-4446


PORTUGAL, Liana Catarina L et al. Peritraumatic tonic immobility is associated with posttraumatic stress symptoms in undergraduate Brazilian students. Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr. [online]. 2012, vol.34, n.1, pp.60-65. ISSN 1516-4446.

OBJECTIVE: Tonic immobility is a defensive reaction occurring under extreme life threats. Patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reporting peritraumatic tonic immobility show the most severe symptoms and a poorer response to treatment. This study investigated the predictive falue of tonic immobility for posttraumatic stress symptoms in a non-clinical sample. METHODS: One hundred and ninety-eight college students exposed to various life threatening events were selected to participate. The Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist - Civilian Version (PCL-C) and tonic immobility questions were used. Linear regression models were fitted to investigate the association between peritraumatic tonic immobility and PCL-C scores. Peritraumatic dissociation, peritraumatic panic reactions, negative affect, gender, type of trauma, and time since trauma were considered as confounding variables. RESULTS: We found significant association between peritraumatic tonic immobility and PTSD symptoms in a non-clinical sample exposed to various traumas, even after regression controlled for confounding variables (β = 1.99, p = 0.017). CONCLUSIONS: This automatic reaction under extreme life threatening stress, although adaptive for defense, may have pathological consequences as implied by its association with PTSD symptoms.

Palabras clave : Posttraumatic stress disorder; Tests [Interviews-Psychometric]; Community mental health (Public health); Other research areas (Tonic immobility); Other Patient Groups [Issues (Non-clinical sample)].

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