[Post-traumatic stress disorder in Germany. Results of a nationwide epidemiological study]

A Maercker, S Forstmeier, B Wagner, H Glaesmer, E Brähler
Der Nervenarzt 2008, 79 (5): 577-86
In a representative epidemiological study (n=2426) with a broad age range of respondents (14-93 years), prevalence rates of traumatic life events, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and partial PTSD were estimated. A standardized interview using the trauma checklist of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview and a DSM-IV PTSD symptom checklist (Modified PTSD Symptom Scale) were applied. One-month prevalence rates were 2.3% for DSM-IV PTSD and 2.7% for partial PTSD. There were no gender differences but age-group differences did appear: among persons older than 60, the prevalence of PTSD was 3.4%, whereas the prevalence was estimated at 1.3% among persons aged 14-29 years and 1.9% among those aged 30-59 years. Partial PTSD exhibited the same age distribution, with 3.8% in the elderly, 2.4% in the middle-aged, and 1.3% in young adults. The results correspond with those of other international studies taking war-related consequences for older age groups into account. Our representative study provides the first evidence of higher PTSD prevalence rates among older age groups in the German population, which is assumed to be related to consequences of World War II.

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