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Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease:
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31825322fe
Original Articles

Prevalence of Delayed-Onset Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military Personnel: Is There Evidence for This Disorder?: Results of a Prospective UK Cohort Study

Goodwin, Laura PhD, MSc, BSc*; Jones, Margaret BA*; Rona, Roberto J. FFPH*; Sundin, Josefin PhD; Wessely, Simon FMedSci*; Fear, Nicola T. DPhil OXON*

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Abstract

Abstract: Delayed-onset posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is defined as onset at least 6 months after a traumatic event. This study investigates the prevalence of delayed-onset PTSD in 1397 participants from a two-phase prospective cohort study of UK military personnel. Delayed-onset PTSD was categorized as participants who did not meet the criteria for probable PTSD (assessed using the PTSD Checklist Civilian version) at phase 1 but met the criteria by phase 2. Of the participants, 3.5% met the criteria for delayed-onset PTSD. Subthreshold PTSD, common mental disorder (CMD), poor/fair self-reported health, and multiple physical symptoms at phase 1 and the onset of alcohol misuse or CMD between phases 1 and 2 were associated with delayed-onset PTSD. Delayed-onset PTSD exists in this UK military sample. Military personnel who developed delayed-onset PTSD were more likely to have psychological ill-health at an earlier assessment, and clinicians should be aware of the potential comorbidity in these individuals, including alcohol misuse. Leaving the military or experiencing relationship breakdown was not associated.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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