JOURNAL ARTICLE

An evaluation of ICD-11 PTSD and complex PTSD criteria in a sample of adult survivors of childhood institutional abuse

Matthias Knefel, Brigitte Lueger-Schuster
European Journal of Psychotraumatology 2013, 4
24312721

BACKGROUND: The WHO recently launched the proposal for the 11th version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) that also includes two diagnoses related to traumatic stress. In contrast to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), ICD-11 will probably, in addition to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), also define a new diagnosis termed "complex posttraumatic stress disorder" (CPTSD).

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to apply the proposed ICD-11 criteria for PTSD and CPTSD and to compare their prevalence to the ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases [10th revision]) PTSD prevalence. In addition, we compiled a list of symptoms for CPTSD based on subthreshold PTSD so as to include a wider group of individuals.

METHODS: To evaluate the appropriateness of the WHO ICD-11 proposal compared to the criteria of ICD-10, we applied the newly introduced criteria for PTSD and CPTSD deriving from the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist - Civilian Version (PCL-C) and the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) scales, to a sample of adult survivors (N=229) of childhood institutional abuse. We evaluated the construct validity of CPTSD using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA).

RESULTS: More individuals fulfilled the criteria for PTSD according to ICD-10 (52.8%) than the ICD-11 proposal (17% for PTSD only; 38.4% if combined with complex PTSD). The new version of PTSD neutralized the gender effects. The prevalence of CPTSD was 21.4%, and women had a significantly higher rate of CPTSD than men (40.4 and 15.8%, respectively). Those survivors who were diagnosed with CPTSD experienced institutional abuse for a longer time. CFA showed a strong model fit.

CONCLUSION: CPTSD is a highly relevant classification for individuals with complex trauma history, but surprisingly, effects of gender were apparent. Further research should thus address gender effects.

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