Epidemiology of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Adults

Naomi Breslau

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

Epidemiology of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Adults


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was established in 1980, when it was incorporated in the DSM-III. The PTSD definition brackets a distinct set of stressors—traumatic events—from other stressful experiences and links it causally with a specific response, the PTSD syndrome. Explicit diagnostic criteria in DSM-III made it feasible to conduct large-scale epidemiological surveys on PTSD and other psychiatric disorders, using structured diagnostic interviews administered by nonclinicians. Epidemiologic research has been expanded from Vietnam veterans, who were the center of DSM-III PTSD study, to civilian populations and postwar regions worldwide. This chapter summarizes information on the prevalence estimates of PTSD in U.S. veterans of the Vietnam War, soldiers returning from deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan, and civilian populations. It outlines research findings on the course of PTSD, risk factors, comorbidity with other psychiatric disorders, and the risk for other posttrauma disoders. It concludes with recommendations for future research.

Keywords: epidemiology; methodology; risk factors; ptsd; civilians; veterans

Article.  9547 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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