Gender differences in posttraumatic stress disorder

Psychol Bull. 2007 Mar;133(2):183-204. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.133.2.183.


One of the most consistent findings in the epidemiology of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the higher risk of this disorder in women. Explanations reviewed within a psychobiological model of PTSD suggest that women's higher PTSD risk may be due to the type of trauma they experience, their younger age at the time of trauma exposure, their stronger perceptions of threat and loss of control, higher levels of peri-traumatic dissociation, insufficient social support resources, and greater use of alcohol to manage trauma-related symptoms like intrusive memories and dissociation, as well as gender-specific acute psychobiological reactions to trauma. This review demonstrates the need for additional research of the gender differences in posttraumatic stress. Recommendations are made for clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Age Factors
  • Cognition
  • Culture
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiopathology
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Oxytocin / metabolism
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiopathology
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Support
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / metabolism
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / physiopathology


  • Oxytocin
  • Hydrocortisone