Did the DSM-5 Improve the Traumatic Stressor Criterion? Association of DSM-IV and DSM-5 Criterion A with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms

Sadie E. Larsen, Howard Berenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: A recent meta-analysis found that DSM-III- and DSM-IV-defined traumas were associated with only slightly higher posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms than nontraumatic stressors. The current study is the first to examine whether DSM-5-defined traumas were associated with higher levels of PTSD than DSM-IV-defined traumas. Further, we examined theoretically relevant event characteristics to determine whether characteristics other than those outlined in the DSM could predict PTSD symptoms. Method: One hundred six women who had experienced a trauma or significant stressor completed questionnaires assessing PTSD, depression, impairment, and event characteristics. Events were rated for whether they qualified as DSM-IV and DSM-5 trauma. Results: There were no significant differences between DSM-IV-defined traumas and stressors. For DSM-5, effect sizes were slightly larger but still nonsignificant (except for significantly higher hyperarousal following traumas vs. stressors). Self-reported fear for one's life significantly predicted PTSD symptoms. Conclusions: Our results indicate that the current DSM-5 definition of trauma, although a slight improvement from DSM-IV, is not highly predictive of who develops PTSD symptoms. Our study also indicates the importance of individual perception of life threat in the prediction of PTSD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-378
Number of pages6
JournalPsychopathology
Volume50
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
Wounds and Injuries
Fear
Meta-Analysis
Depression

Keywords

  • Criterion A
  • DSM
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Stressors
  • Traumatic events

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

@article{d09901c8d3e44513b70ae06c90bd6d8a,
title = "Did the DSM-5 Improve the Traumatic Stressor Criterion?: Association of DSM-IV and DSM-5 Criterion A with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms",
abstract = "Objective: A recent meta-analysis found that DSM-III- and DSM-IV-defined traumas were associated with only slightly higher posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms than nontraumatic stressors. The current study is the first to examine whether DSM-5-defined traumas were associated with higher levels of PTSD than DSM-IV-defined traumas. Further, we examined theoretically relevant event characteristics to determine whether characteristics other than those outlined in the DSM could predict PTSD symptoms. Method: One hundred six women who had experienced a trauma or significant stressor completed questionnaires assessing PTSD, depression, impairment, and event characteristics. Events were rated for whether they qualified as DSM-IV and DSM-5 trauma. Results: There were no significant differences between DSM-IV-defined traumas and stressors. For DSM-5, effect sizes were slightly larger but still nonsignificant (except for significantly higher hyperarousal following traumas vs. stressors). Self-reported fear for one's life significantly predicted PTSD symptoms. Conclusions: Our results indicate that the current DSM-5 definition of trauma, although a slight improvement from DSM-IV, is not highly predictive of who develops PTSD symptoms. Our study also indicates the importance of individual perception of life threat in the prediction of PTSD.",
keywords = "Criterion A, DSM, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Stressors, Traumatic events",
author = "Larsen, {Sadie E.} and Howard Berenbaum",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1159/000481950",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "50",
pages = "373--378",
journal = "Psychopathology",
issn = "0254-4962",
publisher = "S. Karger AG",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Did the DSM-5 Improve the Traumatic Stressor Criterion?

T2 - Association of DSM-IV and DSM-5 Criterion A with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms

AU - Larsen, Sadie E.

AU - Berenbaum, Howard

PY - 2018/1/1

Y1 - 2018/1/1

N2 - Objective: A recent meta-analysis found that DSM-III- and DSM-IV-defined traumas were associated with only slightly higher posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms than nontraumatic stressors. The current study is the first to examine whether DSM-5-defined traumas were associated with higher levels of PTSD than DSM-IV-defined traumas. Further, we examined theoretically relevant event characteristics to determine whether characteristics other than those outlined in the DSM could predict PTSD symptoms. Method: One hundred six women who had experienced a trauma or significant stressor completed questionnaires assessing PTSD, depression, impairment, and event characteristics. Events were rated for whether they qualified as DSM-IV and DSM-5 trauma. Results: There were no significant differences between DSM-IV-defined traumas and stressors. For DSM-5, effect sizes were slightly larger but still nonsignificant (except for significantly higher hyperarousal following traumas vs. stressors). Self-reported fear for one's life significantly predicted PTSD symptoms. Conclusions: Our results indicate that the current DSM-5 definition of trauma, although a slight improvement from DSM-IV, is not highly predictive of who develops PTSD symptoms. Our study also indicates the importance of individual perception of life threat in the prediction of PTSD.

AB - Objective: A recent meta-analysis found that DSM-III- and DSM-IV-defined traumas were associated with only slightly higher posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms than nontraumatic stressors. The current study is the first to examine whether DSM-5-defined traumas were associated with higher levels of PTSD than DSM-IV-defined traumas. Further, we examined theoretically relevant event characteristics to determine whether characteristics other than those outlined in the DSM could predict PTSD symptoms. Method: One hundred six women who had experienced a trauma or significant stressor completed questionnaires assessing PTSD, depression, impairment, and event characteristics. Events were rated for whether they qualified as DSM-IV and DSM-5 trauma. Results: There were no significant differences between DSM-IV-defined traumas and stressors. For DSM-5, effect sizes were slightly larger but still nonsignificant (except for significantly higher hyperarousal following traumas vs. stressors). Self-reported fear for one's life significantly predicted PTSD symptoms. Conclusions: Our results indicate that the current DSM-5 definition of trauma, although a slight improvement from DSM-IV, is not highly predictive of who develops PTSD symptoms. Our study also indicates the importance of individual perception of life threat in the prediction of PTSD.

KW - Criterion A

KW - DSM

KW - Posttraumatic stress disorder

KW - Stressors

KW - Traumatic events

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85034818655&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85034818655&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1159/000481950

DO - 10.1159/000481950

M3 - Article

C2 - 29145192

AN - SCOPUS:85034818655

VL - 50

SP - 373

EP - 378

JO - Psychopathology

JF - Psychopathology

SN - 0254-4962

IS - 6

ER -