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ICD-11 Prevalence Rates of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in a German Nationwide Sample

Maercker, Andreas, MD, PhD*; Hecker, Tobias, PhD*†; Augsburger, Mareike, PhD*; Kliem, Sören, PhD‡§

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: April 2018 - Volume 206 - Issue 4 - p 270–276
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000790
Original Articles

Prevalence rates are still lacking for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex PTSD (CPTSD) diagnoses based on the new ICD-11 criteria. In a nationwide representative German sample (N = 2524; 14–99 years), exposure to traumatic events and symptoms of PTSD or CPTSD were assessed with the International Trauma Questionnaire. A clinical variant of CPTSD with a lower threshold for core PTSD symptoms was also calculated, in addition to conditional prevalence rates dependent on trauma type and differential predictors. One-month prevalence rates were as follows: PTSD, 1.5%; CPTSD, 0.5%; and CPTSD variant, 0.7%. For PTSD, the highest conditional prevalence was associated with kidnapping or rape, and the highest CPTSD rates were associated with sexual childhood abuse or rape. PTSD and CPTSD were best differentiated by sexual violence. Combined PTSD and CPTSD (ICD-11) rates were in the range of previously reported prevalences for unified PTSD (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition; ICD-10). Evidence on differential predictors of PTSD and CPTSD is still preliminary.

*Division of Psychopathology, Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; †Department of Psychology, University of Bielefeld, Bielefeld; ‡Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony, Hannover; and §Department of Psychology, Technical University of Brunswick, Brunswick, Germany.

Send reprint requests to Andreas Maercker, MD, PhD, Division of Psychopathology, Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Binzmuhlestr, CH-8050 Zurich, Switzerland. E-mail:

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