Types of Trauma, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Academic Performance in a Population of University Students

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2018 Jul;206(7):507-512. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000842.


The aim of this work was to investigate the association between traumatic experiences and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with the academic performance of university students. This is a one-phase study that included 2213 students, enrolled at one of seven college institutions in their first or final semesters in all programs, who filled out the self-response questionnaires. From this student population, 14% presented with PTSD, with 13.3% in their first semester and 14.9% in their final semester. The students who presented lower academic results (low scoring) had a higher prevalence of PTSD in both the first and final semesters. Nonsexual violence was related with low scoring in the first-semester students. Thus, we conclude that students in the PTSD group present worse academic performance. These results indicate a need to pay attention to students who have been through traumatic experiences and gone on to develop PTSD, to ensure their undergraduate success and enable their future performance as professionals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Performance*
  • Crime Victims
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Self Report
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Violence
  • Young Adult