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Comorbidity of PTSD in Anxiety and Depressive Disorders: Prevalence and Shared Risk Factors

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 38 Issue: 8 Dated: August 2014 Pages: 1320-1330
Philip Spinhoven; Brenda W. Penninx; Albert M. van Hemert; Mark de Rooij; Bernet M. Elzinga
Date Published
August 2014
11 pages
This Dutch study assessed the co-morbidity of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in anxiety and depressive disorders in a sample of 2,402 adults ages 18-65, and it determined whether childhood trauma types and other generally accepted independent risk factors for co-morbid PTSD are unique to PTSD or are shared with anxiety and depressive disorders.
Of the study sample, 92.8 percent reported a potentially traumatic or bothersome life event compared to 80.7 percent in the general population in the Netherlands. With a prevalence of 26.2 percent, sexual abuse was by far the most prevalent and most bothersome A1 event in the PTSD sample. Of the persons with PTSD, 22.6 percent mentioned exposure to a traumatic event that occurred before they were 16 years old; in 72.7 percent of the cases, this involved exposure to childhood sexual abuse. Men were exposed to physical abuse more often than the women. The study also found that symptom severity levels of depression, anxiety, and phobic avoidance were higher in co-morbid cases than in cases without PTSD. Childhood sexual abuse and physical abuse were the main risk factors that predicted co-morbidity of anxiety and depressive disorders with PTSD independent of the effect of gender. This is consistent with previous studies which show that persons who report childhood sexual and physical abuse are more likely to have PTSD in adulthood than those who do not report these trauma types. Participants were assessed at baseline and at 2 and 4 years later. At each wave, DSM-IV-TR based anxiety and depressive disorder, neuroticism, low extraversion, and symptom severity were assessed. Childhood trauma was measured at baseline with an interview and 4 years later with a questionnaire. PTSD was also measured with a standardized interview after 4 years. 3 tables, 1 figure, and 59 references