Complex PTSD in victims exposed to sexual and physical abuse: results from the DSM-IV Field Trial for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

J Trauma Stress. 1997 Oct;10(4):539-55. doi: 10.1023/a:1024837617768.


Two hundred thirty four participants in the DSM-IV Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Field Trial who reported sexual and/or physical abuse were evaluated. Participants were categorized according to type of abuse (physical, sexual, both), duration of abuse (acute versus chronic), and onset of abuse (early versus late). Separate logistic regression analyses examined the relationship between age of onset, duration, abuse type, and the complex PTSD (CP) lifetime diagnosis for women and men. Sexually abused women, especially those who also experienced physical abuse, had a higher risk of developing CP, although CP symptoms occurred at a high base rate among physically abused women. The theoretical implications and incremental clinical usefulness of targeting CP symptoms with abused populations are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Combat Disorders / classification
  • Combat Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Combat Disorders / psychology
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics
  • Rape / psychology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / classification
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Violence / psychology