Nov 20, 2008

The emergence of posttraumatic distress in later life: a review

Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology
Syd HiskeyChris R Brewin


We review the literature for evidence of posttraumatic stress disorder that emerges in older adulthood yet is related to earlier life events. Minimum standards necessary to establish the phenomenon are proposed and applied to existing group and case studies. Our findings suggest that the best evidence for this rests with a handful of group studies featuring male war veterans (n = 4) and a variety of case studies (n = 12) that have appeared over the last two decades. We summarize what is known regarding prevalence, symptoms, course, and triggers, and conclude that the phenomenon does exist but has rarely been investigated systematically. There are therefore no grounds at present for thinking of reemergent posttraumatic stress disorder as a unique subtype of the disorder among elderly people. We suggest that future research focuses in more detail on participants' history of posttraumatic difficulties and considers the phenomenon across groups other than male veterans.

  • References19
  • Citations14


  • References19
  • Citations14

Mentioned in this Paper

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Delayed Onset Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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