Post-traumatic stress disorder in Canada

CNS Neurosci Ther. 2008 Fall;14(3):171-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-5949.2008.00049.x.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has become a global health issue, with prevalence rates ranging from 1.3% to 37.4%. As there is little current data on PTSD in Canada, an epidemiological study was conducted examining PTSD and related comorbid conditions. Modified versions of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) PTSD module, the depression, alcohol and substance abuse sections of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), as well as portions of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) were combined, and administered via telephone interview in English or French. Random digit dialing was used to obtain a nationally representative sample of 2991, aged 18 years and above from across Canada. The prevalence rate of lifetime PTSD in Canada was estimated to be 9.2%, with a rate of current (1-month) PTSD of 2.4%. Traumatic exposure to at least one event sufficient to cause PTSD was reported by 76.1% of respondents. The most common forms of trauma resulting in PTSD included unexpected death of a loved one, sexual assault, and seeing someone badly injured or killed. In respondents meeting criteria for PTSD, the symptoms were chronic in nature, and associated with significant impairment and high rates of comorbidity. PTSD is a common psychiatric disorder in Canada. The results are surprising, given the comparably low rates of violent crime, a small military and few natural disasters. Potential implications of these findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*