Study of Trauma and Resilience
(STAR) 2.0

Principal Investigator: Terri deRoon-Cassini & Lucas Torres

Individuals of lower socioeconomic status (SES) and ethnic minority members are at greatest risk for developing PTSD following a traumatic event, which may be attributable to a larger pre-trauma stress burden. This stress burden may create a biologic vulnerability to subsequent severe trauma that contributes to poor outcomes after trauma. The specific aims of this study are: 1) Prospectively establish the relationship between pre-trauma exposure to socio-environmental stressors (low SES, exposure to community violence, and experience of racial/ethnic discrimination) and chronic PTSD among traumatically injured racial/ethnic minority individuals after acute traumatic injury and 2) Evaluate a model in which indicators of biological vulnerability, namely the conserved transcriptional response to adversity (CTRA) gene profile expression and allostatic load, mediate the relationship between socio-environmental stressors and poor PTSD outcome. This study will identify and link social, environmental, and physiological indicators that are predictive of poor clinical outcomes and decreased quality of life in traumatic injury survivors. Overall, we seek to clarify the impact of socio-environmental stress on the biological and psychological response to traumatic injury. This will help to delineate the mechanisms involved in stress vulnerability to better inform targets for intervention to prevent PTSD in a trauma population that experiences health disparities. We will do this by focusing on the variability of biologic vulnerability that exists within ethnic minority groups, rather than comparing to Whites, which is an inadequate approach as it perpetuates non-White stereotypes and does not acknowledged differences within groups.