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Am J Psychiatry. 2000 Apr;157(4):626-8.

Two-year prospective evaluation of the relationship between acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder following mild traumatic brain injury.

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  • 1School of Psychology, Unviersity of New South Wales, Sydney,



To assess the ability of acute stress disorder to predict posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the relationship between acute stress disorder and PTSD over the 2 years following mild traumatic brain injury was determined.


Survivors of motor vehicle accidents who sustained mild traumatic brain injuries were assessed for acute stress disorder within 1 month of the trauma (N=79) and for PTSD at 6 months (N=63) and 2 years (N=50) posttrauma.


Acute stress disorder was diagnosed in 14% of the patients. Among the patients who participated in all three assessments, 80% of the subjects who met the criteria for acute stress disorder were diagnosed with PTSD at 2 years. Of the total initial group, 73% of those diagnosed with acute stress disorder had PTSD at 2 years.


This study provides further support for the utility of the acute stress disorder diagnosis as a predictor of PTSD but indicates that the predictive power of the diagnostic criteria can be increased by placing greater emphasis on reexperiencing, avoidance, and arousal symptoms.

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