PTSD and Sexual Orientation: An Examination of Criterion A1 and Non-Criterion A1 Events

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Abstract

This large-scale cross-sectional study compared posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) prevalence among White, Black, and Latino lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals (LGBs; n = 382) and compared them with heterosexual individuals (n = 126). Building on previous research, we relaxed the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.; DSM–IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994), allowing non-Criterion A1 events such as ending a relationship, unemployment, homelessness, and separation from parents to qualify, and we assessed differences in PTSD prevalence between standard DSM–IV criteria and the relaxed criteria. Findings revealed that participants reporting a non-Criterion A1 event were more likely than those reporting a Criterion A1 event to have symptoms diagnosable as PTSD. There was no significant difference in either DSM–IV or relaxed Criterion A1 PTSD prevalence between lesbian and gay, and heterosexual individuals or between bisexual and heterosexual individuals. Compared with White LGBs, Black and Latino LGBs had higher prevalence of PTSD with the relaxed Criterion A1 definition, but this was statistically significant only for Latinos.

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