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Table 1 Research question in PICOTS format

From: Cortisol levels in different tissue samples in posttraumatic stress disorder patients versus controls: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol

PICOTS Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Patients or populations Adults aged 18 years or older
Patients with current PTSD based on DSM/ICD criteria
Exposures Trauma exposure fulfilling DSM/ICD criteria occurring at least a month prior to assessment in PTSD patients and TEC
Comparison group(s) PTSD patients versus all controls
Subgroup analysis:
 PTSD patients versus TEC
 PTSD patients versus TUC
Outcomes Basal or baseline cortisol levels (mean levels and standard deviation) measured in different tissue types
Timing At least 1 month since trauma exposure in PTSD patients and TEC
Setting Any setting (inpatient, outpatient, community settings)
Study design Any study design where cortisol levels are compared in patients versus controls (e.g. cross-sectional, case-control and cohort)
  1. DSM, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; ICD, International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems; PICOTS, Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcomes, Timing, Setting; PTSD, posttraumatic stress disorder; TEC, trauma-exposed controls; TUC, trauma-unexposed controls