This paper examined the hypothesis that PTSD-unique symptom clusters of re-experiencing, active avoidance and hyperarousal were more related to the fear/phobic disorders, while shared PTSD symptoms of dysphoria were more closely related to Anxious-Misery disorders (MDD/GAD). Confirmatory factor and correlation analyses examining PTSD, anxiety and mood disorder data from 714 injury survivors interviewed 3, 12 and 24-months following their injury supported this hypothesis with these relationships remaining robust from 3-24 months posttrauma. Of the nine unique fear-oriented PTSD symptoms, only one is currently required for a DSM-IV diagnosis. Increasing emphasis on PTSD fear symptoms in DSM-V, such as proposed DSM-V changes to mandate active avoidance, is critical to improve specificity, ensure inclusion of dimensionally distinct features and facilitate tailoring of treatment.
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