The contribution of gender-based violence and network trauma to gender differences in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
AuthorSilove, D; Baker, JR; Mohsin, M; Teesson, M; Creamer, M; O'Donnell, M; Forbes, D; Carragher, N; Slade, T; Mills, K; ...
Source TitlePLoS One
PublisherPUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
University of Melbourne Author/sCreamer, Mark; Forbes, David; Felmingham, Kim; O'Donnell, Meaghan; Bryant, Richard
Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsSilove, D., Baker, J. R., Mohsin, M., Teesson, M., Creamer, M., O'Donnell, M., Forbes, D., Carragher, N., Slade, T., Mills, K., Bryant, R., McFarlane, A., Steel, Z., Felmingham, K. & Rees, S. (2017). The contribution of gender-based violence and network trauma to gender differences in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PLOS ONE, 12 (2), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0171879.
Access StatusOpen Access
BACKGROUND: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurs twice as commonly amongst women as men. Two common domains of trauma, network trauma and gender based violence (GBV), may contribute to this gender difference in PTSD rates. We examined data from a nationally representative sample of the Australian population to clarify the characteristics of these two trauma domains in their contributions to PTSD rates in men and women. METHODS: We drew on data from the 2007 Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-being to assess gender differences across a comprehensive range of trauma domains, including (1) prevalence of lifetime exposure; (2) identification of an index trauma or DSM-IV Criterion A event; and (3) the likelihood of developing full DSM-IV PTSD symptoms once an index trauma was identified. RESULTS: Men reported more traumatic events (TEs) overall but women reported twice the prevalence of lifetime PTSD (women, 13.4%; men, 6.3%). Women reported a threefold higher level of exposure to GBV and were seven times more likely to nominate GBV as the index trauma as compared to men. Women were twice more likely than men to identify a network trauma as the index trauma and more likely to meet full PTSD symptoms in relation to that event (women, 20.6%; men, 14.6%). CONCLUSION: Women are more likely to identify GBV and network trauma as an index trauma. Women's far greater exposure to GBV contributes to their higher prevalence of PTSD. Women are markedly more likely to develop PTSD when network trauma is identified as the index trauma. Preventing exposure to GBV and providing timely interventions for acute psychological reactions following network trauma may assist in reducing PTSD rates amongst women.
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