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Prevalence of Traumatic Events and PTSD Symptomatology Among a Selected Sample of Undergraduate Students

NCJ Number
Journal of Social Work in & Disability Rehabilitation Volume: 1 Issue: 1 Dated: 2002 Pages: 53-65
Alan Kirk; Susan C. Dollar
John T. Pardeck Ph.D.
Date Published
13 pages
The purpose of this study was to identify the number, types, and severity of traumatic events that occurred among a university student sample at a rural southern university serving as an indicator of the need for prevention, early recognition, and treatment of traumas which predict the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Individuals exposed to traumatic events are often at-risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric diagnosis resulting from exposure to one or more catastrophic stressors, such as a serious accident or injury, death, physical attack, or rape. Traumatic events can have long-lasting effects. This study attempted to identify the number, types, and severity of traumatic events that occurred among a student sample from three academic departments at a rural southern university. Respondents were randomly selected totaling 234 social work and sociology undergraduates with the majority being female and an average age of 26.1. The survey instrument was organized into three general areas that captured information related to experiences with stressful events, personal responses to these events, and the long-term effects of experiencing these events. The study showed that university students are at risk for traumatic experiences. College-aged women are much more likely than men to report trauma and to seek counseling and treatment for its effects. Rape, assault, and other crimes causing personal harm are prevalent on college campuses. The study impresses the importance of early identification, referral, and counseling for stress and trauma-related incidents among college students. Gaining a better understanding of the incidence of PTSD symptomatology among university students will serve to improve the quality of the students’ educational experiences. References


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