Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Law Psychiatry. 2016 Nov - Dec;49(Pt B):238-258. doi: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2016.10.012. Epub 2016 Nov 8.

PTSD in Court I: Introducing PTSD for Court.

Author information

Glendon Campus, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:


The first part of the series of three articles on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Court to appear in the journal reviews the history of the construct of PTSD and its presentation in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition; American Psychiatric Association, 2013) and the ICD-11 (International Classification of Diseases, 11th Edition; World Health Organization, 2018). There are 20 symptoms of PTSD in the DSM-5. PTSD symptoms are arranged into a four-cluster model, which has received partial support in the literature. Other four-factor models have been found that fit the data even better than that of the DSM-5. There is a five-factor dysphoria model and two six-factor models that have been found to fit better the DSM-5 PTSD symptoms. Finally, research is providing support for a hybrid seven-factor model. An eighth factor on dissociation seems applicable to the minority of people who express the dissociative subtype. At the epidemiological level, individuals can expect trauma exposure to take place about 70% over one's lifetime. Also, traumatic exposure leads to traumatic reactions in about 10% of cases, with PTSD being a primary diagnosis for trauma. Once initiated, PTSD becomes prolonged in about 10% of cases. Polytrauma and comorbidities complicate these prevalence statistics. Moreover, the possibility of malingered PTSD presents confounds. However, the estimate for malingered PTSD varies extensively, from 1 to 50%, so that the estimate is too imprecise for use in court without further research. This first article in the series of three articles appearing in the journal on PTSD in Court concludes with discussion of complications related to comorbidities and heterogeneities, in particular. For example, PTSD and its comorbidities can be expressed in over one quintillion ways. This complexity in its current structure in the DSM-5 speaks to the individual differences involved in its expression.


DSM-5; ICD-11; PTSD; court; factors; prevalence

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center