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Research exploring the longitudinal course of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms has documented four modal trajectories (low, remitting, high, and delayed), with proportions varying across studies. Heterogeneity could be due to differences in trauma types and patient demographic characteristics.
This analysis pooled data from six longitudinal studies of adult survivors of civilian-related injuries admitted to general hospital emergency departments (EDs) in six countries (pooled N = 3083). Each study included at least three assessments of the clinician-administered PTSD scale in the first post-trauma year. Latent class growth analysis determined the proportion of participants exhibiting various PTSD symptom trajectories within and across the datasets. Multinomial logistic regression analyses examined demographic characteristics, type of event leading to the injury, and trauma history as predictors of trajectories differentiated by their initial severity and course.
Five trajectories were found across the datasets: Low (64.5%), Remitting (16.9%), Moderate (6.7%), High (6.5%), and Delayed (5.5%). Female gender, non-white race, prior interpersonal trauma, and assaultive injuries were associated with increased risk for initial PTSD reactions. Female gender and assaultive injuries were associated with risk for membership in the Delayed (v. Low) trajectory, and lower education, prior interpersonal trauma, and assaultive injuries with risk for membership in the High (v. Remitting) trajectory.
The results suggest that over 30% of civilian-related injury survivors admitted to EDs experience moderate-to-high levels of PTSD symptoms within the first post-trauma year, with those reporting assaultive violence at increased risk of both immediate and longer-term symptoms.
Projected changes to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnostic criteria in the upcoming International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-11 may affect the prevalence and severity of identified cases. This study examined differences in rates, severity, and overlap of diagnoses using ICD-10 and ICD-11 PTSD diagnostic criteria during consecutive assessments of recent survivors of traumatic events.
The study sample comprised 3863 survivors of traumatic events, evaluated in 11 longitudinal studies of PTSD. ICD-10 and ICD-11 diagnostic rules were applied to the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) to derive ICD-10 and ICD-11 diagnoses at different time intervals between trauma occurrence and 15 months.
The ICD-11 criteria identified fewer cases than the ICD-10 across assessment intervals (range −47.09% to −57.14%). Over 97% of ICD-11 PTSD cases met concurrent ICD-10 PTSD criteria. PTSD symptom severity of individuals identified by the ICD-11 criteria (CAPS total scores) was 31.38–36.49% higher than those identified by ICD-10 criteria alone. The latter, however, had CAPS scores indicative of moderate PTSD. ICD-11 was associated with similar or higher rates of comorbid mood and anxiety disorders. Individuals identified by either ICD-10 or ICD-11 shortly after traumatic events had similar longitudinal course.
This study indicates that significantly fewer individuals would be diagnosed with PTSD using the proposed ICD-11 criteria. Though ICD-11 criteria identify more severe cases, those meeting ICD-10 but not ICD-11 criteria remain in the moderate range of PTSD symptoms. Use of ICD-11 criteria will have critical implications for case identification in clinical practice, national reporting, and research.