Examining posttraumatic stress symptoms in a national sample of homicide survivors: prevalence and comparison to other violence victims

J Trauma Stress. 2011 Dec;24(6):743-6. doi: 10.1002/jts.20692. Epub 2011 Nov 22.


The present study examined posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among friends and family members of homicide victims (homicide survivors). Out of a national sample of 1,753 young adults who completed follow-up interviews after participating in the National Survey of Adolescents, 268 homicide survivors and 653 victims of other interpersonal violence were selected for the study. Participants completed structured telephone interviews that covered the loss of a family member or close friend to homicide, violence exposure, and PTSD symptomatology. Findings indicated that 39% of homicide survivors met criteria for all 3 symptom clusters and 30% of homicide survivors met criteria for 2 PTSD clusters (functional impairment was not assessed). Multivariate logistic regression analyses demonstrated that homicide survivors were more likely than victims of other violence to meet criteria for all 3 PTSD symptom clusters (OR = 1.91, p < .05) and 2 symptom clusters (OR = 1.77, p < .05) when demographic characteristics and number of violent events were included in the model. These findings highlight the high prevalence of subthreshold PTSD symptoms among homicide survivors. Results suggest that homicide survivors are at elevated risk for PTSD symptoms in comparison to victims of other interpersonal violence.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Homicide / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / physiopathology*
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult