Kessler et al. (31> estimated that the lifetime prevalence of PTSD is 7.8 per cent, using DSM-IIIR criteria. Women had a higher prevalence than men (10.4 versus 5.0 per cent). This was due to both a greater exposure to high-impact trauma (rape, sexual molestation, childhood neglect, and childhood physical abuse) and a greater likelihood of developing PTSD when exposed to a traumatic event. Other studies using DSM-IIIR criteria have yielded similarly high prevalence rates. (9,39,> A recent study used DSM-IV criteria and found a past-month PTSD prevalence of 2.7 per cent for women and 1.2 per cent for men. (32)
Earlier studies using DSM-III criteria had reported lower lifetime prevalences of about 1 per cent. (4243> Besides differences in procedures and sampling methods, the low PTSD prevalence in these earlier studies may be due to the use of an interview schedule with low sensitivity in detecting PTSD. (44) In particular, the interview asked global questions about the occurrence of traumatic events and lacked the repeated probing for specific events or event categories that seems to be necessary in eliciting relevant experiences.
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