Lifetime traumatic experiences and posttraumatic stress disorder in the German population: results of a representative population survey.

Research paper by Robin R Hauffa, Winfried W Rief, Elmar E Brähler, Alexandra A Martin, Ricarda R Mewes, Heide H Glaesmer

Indexed on: 03 Dec '11Published on: 03 Dec '11Published in: The Journal of nervous and mental disease


Only a few European population-based studies on the epidemiology of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are available to date. This study aims to broaden the epidemiological knowledge of traumatic experiences (TEs), PTSD, and comorbid mental conditions in a representative German sample (N = 2510). The Composite International Diagnostic Interview list of traumatic events, the Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale, and Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-9 as well as PHQ-15 were used in this survey. Main results were low frequencies of TEs (24%) and PTSD (2.9%). Older participants (>60 years) reported significantly more TEs and more posttraumatic symptoms, whereas there was no significant difference in PTSD prevalence. A third of the subjects diagnosed with PTSD were found positive for depressive syndromes, and 27% were found positive for somatization syndrome. The results show that TEs and posttraumatic symptoms are frequent in senior citizens and thus have to be considered when treating older patients with mental health conditions.