Prevalence of Civilian Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in a Representative National Sample of Women

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Abstract

Prevalence of crime and noncrime civilian traumatic events, lifetime posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and PTSD in the past 6 months were assessed in a sample of U.S. adult women (N = 4,008). Random digit-dial telephone methods were used to identify study participants. Structured telephone interviews for assessment of specific crime or other traumatic event history and PTSD were conducted by trained female interviewers. Lifetime exposure to any type of traumatic event was 69%, whereas exposure to crimes that included sexual or aggravated assult or homicide of a close relative or friend occurred among 36%. Overall sample prevalence of PTSD was 12.3% lifetime and 4.6% within the past 6 months. The rate of PTSD was significantly higher among crime versus noncrime victims (25.8% vs. 9.4%). History of incidents that included direct threat to life or receipt of injury was a risk factor for PTSD. Findings are compared with data from other epidemiological studies. Results are discussed as they relate to PTSD etiology.

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