Traumatic events and post-traumatic stress disorder in the community: prevalence, risk factors and comorbidity

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2000 Jan;101(1):46-59. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0447.2000.101001046.x.


Objective: Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of traumatic events and DSM-IV post-traumatic stress disorder as well as risk factors and comorbidity patterns were investigated in a representative community sample (n = 3021, aged 14-24 years).

Method: Traumatic events and PTSD were assessed with the Munich Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).

Results: Although 26% of male subjects and 17.7% of female subjects reported at least one traumatic event, only a few qualified for a full PTSD diagnosis (1% of males and 2.2% of females). Traumatic events and PTSD were strongly associated with all other mental disorders examined. PTSD occurred as both a primary and a secondary disorder.

Conclusion: The prevalence of PTSD in this young German sample is considerably lower than reported in previous US studies. However, the conditional probability for PTSD after experiencing traumas, risk factors and comorbidity patterns are quite similar. Traumatic events and full PTSD may increase the risk for other disorders, and vice versa.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Agoraphobia / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology