The Impact of Trauma Type or Number of Traumatic Events on PTSD Diagnosis and Symptom Severity in Treatment Seeking Veterans

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2017 Feb;205(2):83-86. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000581.


Trauma history and increased exposure to combat and sexual trauma may account for heightened rates of PTSD among military populations. This study assessed trauma type and exposure history, diagnostic impressions, and PTSD severity in a large clinical dataset (n = 2463) of veterans presenting for PTSD evaluation at a Midwestern VA Medical Center between the years 2006 and 2013. The degree of lifetime trauma exposure was pronounced, with approximately 76% of the sample reporting exposure to at least four traumatic events. Higher numbers of lifetime trauma and higher levels of combat exposure were associated with more severe PTSD symptoms. Sexual trauma and combat trauma were more predictive of PTSD than other trauma types. Sexual trauma was associated with more severe PTSD than combat and other trauma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Combat Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Combat Disorders / etiology
  • Combat Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rape / psychology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Veterans / psychology*
  • Young Adult