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Correspondence Between Retrospective and Momentary Self‐Reported Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms: Evidence for Peak and End Effects in Veterans.

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    • Abstract:
      Validated retrospective self‐report symptom rating scales are recommended for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) screening and treatment. However, such reports may be affected by a respondent's most intense ("peak") or most recent ("end") symptoms. The present study evaluated the correspondence between PTSD symptoms assessed using a standard past‐month retrospective rating scale and recorded by ecological momentary assessment (EMA) over the same period and tested hypotheses that retrospective scores would be predicted by peak and end‐period momentary symptoms. Male U.S. veterans (N = 35) who served post‐9/11 completed the PTSD Symptom Checklist for DSM‐5 (PCL‐5) at baseline and 1 month later. For 28 days during the intervening period, they received quasi‐randomly timed text prompts to complete a modified version of the PCL‐5 at that moment. Using multiple regression modeling, controlling for the number of completed EMAs and time (days) since the last EMA, we assessed the predictability of follow‐up retrospective PCL‐5 scores by (a) the mean of all momentary scores and (b) peak and last‐day momentary scores. Retrospective PCL‐5 scores were closest to peak scores, d = −0.31, and substantially higher than overall mean, d = 0.99, and last‐day momentary scores, d = 0.94. In the regression model, peak symptom experiences and last‐day momentary symptoms uniquely predicted follow‐up PCL‐5 scores over and above significant prediction by overall mean momentary symptom scores. In sum, participants' self‐reported past‐month PTSD symptom severity did not simply reflect an average over time. Additional questioning is needed to understand peak and recent symptom periods reflected in these estimates. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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