Prevalence of PTSD in a community sample of older adolescents

S P Cuffe, C L Addy, C Z Garrison, J L Waller, K L Jackson, R E McKeown, S Chilappagari
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 1998, 37 (2): 147-54

OBJECTIVE: To examine prevalence and correlates of trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and diagnosis in older adolescents aged 16 through 22 years.

METHOD: The second cycle of a longitudinal epidemiological study in the Southeast included a semistructured interview assessing PTSD symptomatology administered to 490 adolescents.

RESULTS: Approximately 3% of female subjects and 1% of male subjects satisfied the DSM-IV criteria for PTSD. Females reported more traumatic events than males, and black subjects reported more events than white subjects. Being female (odds ratio = 12.32), experiencing rape or child sexual abuse (odds ratio = 49.37), and witnessing an accident or medical emergency (odds ratio = 85.02) were associated with increased risk of PTSD.

CONCLUSIONS: While relatively few adolescents satisfy the criteria for PTSD, most subjects who experienced a traumatic event reported some PTSD symptoms. Specific types of traumatic events were associated with occurrence of PTSD.

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