Classification of Acute Stress Disorder

Maria L. Pacella and Douglas L. Delahanty

in The Oxford Handbook of Traumatic Stress Disorders

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195399066
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Classification of Acute Stress Disorder

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  • Clinical Psychology



The diagnosis of acute stress disorder (ASD) was created to identify survivors soon after a trauma who were likely to develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Though ASD demonstrates acceptable predictive power, subsequent research has often failed to display high rates of sensitivity or specificity. These qualities, in combination with the large amount of shared diagnostic features between ASD and PTSD, have led researchers to question the utility of the diagnosis. However, other early predictors of PTSD also appear to suffer from similar criticisms of the ASD diagnosis. This chapter will review research examining the predictive utility of ASD in various populations, in the context of other cognitive, biological, and psychosocial predictors of PTSD, and in disorders other than PTSD. Finally, in light of the proposed changes to the ASD diagnosis for the DSM-5, future directions for research into early predictors of PTSD will be discussed.

Keywords: acute stress disorder; posttraumatic stress disorder; dissociation; peritraumatic dissociation; intervention

Article.  8023 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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