Leveraging Free-Hand Sketches for Potential Screening of PTSD

IMWUT Paper available here: https://doi.org/10.1145/3411835

Authors: Farhana Shahid, Wasifur Rahman, M. Saifur Rahman, Sharmin Akther Purabi, Ayesha Seddiqa, Moin Mostakim, Farhan Feroz, Tanjir Rashid Soron, Fahmida Hossain, Nabila Khan, Anika Binte Islam, Nipi Pau, Ehsan Hoque, A. B. M. Alim Al Islam

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) negatively influences a person’s ability to cope and increases psychiatric morbidity. The existing diagnostic tools of PTSD are often difficult to administer within marginalized communities due to language and cultural barriers, lack of skilled clinicians, and stigma around disclosing traumatic experiences. Here, we present an initial proof of concept for a novel, low-cost, and creative method to screen the potential cases of PTSD based on free-hand sketches within three different communities in Bangladesh: Rohingya refugees (n=44), slum-dwellers (n=35), and engineering students (n=85). Due to the low overhead and nonverbal nature of sketching, our proposed method potentially overcomes communication and resource barriers. Using corner and edge detection algorithms, we extracted three features (number of corners, number and average length of strokes) from the images of free-hand sketches. We used these features along with sketch themes, participants’ gender and group to train multiple logistic regression models for potentially screening PTSD (accuracy: 82.9-87.9%). We improved the accuracy (99.29%) by integrating EEG data with sketch features in a Random Forest model for the refugee population. Our proposed initial assessment method of PTSD based on sketches could potentially be integrated with phones and EEG headsets, making it widely accessible to the underrepresented communities.

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