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Risk of post-traumatic stress disorder following traumatic events in a community sample

White, J. ORCID:, Pearce, J., Morrison, S., Dunstan, F. ORCID:, Bisson, J. I. ORCID: and Fone, D. L. ORCID: 2015. Risk of post-traumatic stress disorder following traumatic events in a community sample. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences 24 (3) , pp. 249-257. 10.1017/S2045796014000110

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Aims. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is typically associated with high-risk population groups, but the risk of PTSD that is associated with trauma experienced in the community, and effect of changes in diagnostic criteria in DSM-5 on prevalence in the general population, is unknown. Methods. Cross-sectional analysis of population-based data from 4558 adults aged 25–83 years resident in Caerphilly county borough, Wales, UK. Exposure to different traumatic events was assessed using categorisation of free-text descriptions of trauma. PTSD caseness was determined using items assessing Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV (DSM-IV) and DSM-5 A criteria and the Traumatic Screening Questionnaire. Results. Of the 4558 participants, 1971 (47.0%) reported a traumatic event. The most common DSM-IV A1 qualifying trauma was life-threatening illnesses and injuries (13.6%). The highest risk of PTSD was associated with assaultive violence [34.1%]. The prevalence of PTSD using DSM-IV A criteria was 14.3% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 12.8, 15.9%). Using DSM-5 A criteria reduced the prevalence to 8.0 (95% CI = 6.9, 9.4%), primarily due to exclusion of DSM-IV A1 qualifying events, such as life-threatening illnesses. Conclusions. Nearly one-half of a general community sample had experienced a traumatic event and of these around one in seven was a DSM-IV case of PTSD. Although the majority of research has concentrated on combat, rape and assaultive violence, life threatening illness is a more common cause of PTSD in the community. Removal of this traumatic event in DSM-5 could reduce the number of cases of PTSD by around 6.0%.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: Epidemiology post-traumatic stress disorder trauma traumatic event
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 2045-7960
Date of Acceptance: 30 January 2014
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2022 02:12

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