Meta-analysis of risk factors for posttraumatic stress disorder in trauma-exposed adults

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2000 Oct;68(5):748-66. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.68.5.748.


Meta-analyses were conducted on 14 separate risk factors for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the moderating effects of various sample and study characteristics, including civilian/military status, were examined. Three categories of risk factor emerged: Factors such as gender, age at trauma, and race that predicted PTSD in some populations but not in others; factors such as education, previous trauma, and general childhood adversity that predicted PTSD more consistently but to a varying extent according to the populations studied and the methods used; and factors such as psychiatric history, reported childhood abuse, and family psychiatric history that had more uniform predictive effects. Individually, the effect size of all the risk factors was modest, but factors operating during or after the trauma, such as trauma severity, lack of social support, and additional life stress, had somewhat stronger effects than pretrauma factors.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child Abuse
  • Chronic Disease
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel / psychology
  • Models, Psychological
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Support
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Trauma Severity Indices