Nov 14, 1997

Posttraumatic stress disorder in a community group of former prisoners of war: a normative response to severe trauma

The American Journal of Psychiatry
B E EngdahlA Blank


The goal of this study was to assess and describe the long-term impact of traumatic prisoner of war (POW) experiences within the context of posttraumatic psychopathology. Specifically, the authors attempted to investigate the relative degree of normative response represented by posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in comparison to other DSM axis I disorders often found to be present, either alone or concomitant with other disorders, in survivors of trauma. A community group of 262 U.S. World War II and Korean War former POWs was recruited. These men had been exposed to the multiple traumas of combat, capture, and imprisonment, yet few had ever sought mental health treatment. They were assessed for psychopathology with diagnostic interviews and psychodiagnostic testing. Regression analyses were used to assess the contributions of age at capture, war trauma, and postwar social support to PTSD and the other diagnosed disorders. More than half of the men (53%) met criteria for lifetime PTSD, and 29% met criteria for current PTSD. The most severely traumatized group (POWs held by the Japanese) had PTSD lifetime rates of 84% and current rates of 59%. Fifty-five percent of those with current PTSD were free from the other current axis ...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Mental Disorders
Delayed Onset Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Regression Analysis

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