Purpose: Identification of consistent predictors of the temporal course of PTSD has been hampered by non-uniform definitions of onset and remission. Onset and remission of PTSD based on different definitions were examined in a large database of systematically assessed disaster survivors. Methods: Directly exposed survivors of 10 disasters were studied within approximately 3 months of the disasters and again 1-3 years later, using consistent methods including full diagnostic assessment, allowing aggregation of data from different disasters into a unified database of 716 survivors. Results: Application of existing definitions of PTSD onset and remission uncovered problems with definitions based on diagnostic threshold as well as onset/remission of symptoms. Few predictors of timing of onset and PTSD remission were identified. Regardless, PTSD symptom group C was found to be pivotal to processes involved in both onset and remission of the disorder. Conclusions: Research findings related to the onset and remission of PTSD are highly dependent on the definition used. Both symptom-based and diagnostic threshold-based definitions are problematic. Definitions of the onset and remission of PTSD might be more effectively based on the onset and remission of group C symptoms.
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Social Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health