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J Trauma Stress. 2013 Feb;26(1):86-93. doi: 10.1002/jts.21776.

Exploring the female specific risk to partial and full PTSD following physical assault.

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  • 1School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.


Previous studies have shown that females are at an increased risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in response to physical assault compared with males. Our aims were to (a) test if this gender-specific risk generalised to subclinical levels of PTSD, (b) observe how this relationship was affected by including possible confounding factors, and (c) estimate how this trauma contributed to the overall prevalence of PTSD in females. Data came from an Australian birth cohort study (n = 2,547) based in Brisbane, Australia that commenced in 1981. Using ordinal logistic regression adjusted for a wide range of confounding factors, including polyvictimisation and internalising and externalising symptoms, we found females were at a significantly greater risk compared to males of developing either partial or full PTSD, odds ratio (OR) = 7.68; 95% confidence interval (CI) = [2.94, 20.08], as well as full PTSD only, OR = 9.23; 95% CI = [2.77, 30.79], following the experience of assaultive violence (p value for test of interaction = .004). In addition to the high prevalence of sexual assault (12.9%), attributable risk analysis suggested that due to the strong risk of PTSD in females exposed to physical assault, physical assault is possibly a contributor to the overall female increased prevalence of PTSD.

Copyright © 2013 International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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