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Prevalence of PTSD in a community sample of older adolescents.

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Department of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA.



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


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


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.


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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