Trauma exposure and undetected posttraumatic stress disorder among adults with a mental disorder

Catrin Lewis*, Lawrence Raisanen, Jonathan I. Bisson, Ian Jones, Stan Zammit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
314 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Trauma exposure and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are common among individuals with a mental disorder, but symptoms often go undetected and untreated. Methods: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of PTSD among a large sample of adults with psychiatric diagnoses and to establish factors associated with symptoms going undetected. Participants were 1,946 adults recruited by the National Centre for Mental Health. Structured interviews and validated self-report questionnaires were used to ascertain clinical and demographic information for analysis. Results: The prevalence of participants screening positive for PTSD that had not been detected by clinical services was 13.9% [12.4–15.5%, 95% confidence interval]). Factors associated with undetected PTSD were female gender, younger age of first contact with psychiatric services, and lower household income. Especially, poor rates of detection were observed after traumatic events, such as child abuse and sexual assault. Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate the need for routine assessment of trauma histories and symptoms of PTSD among individuals with anymental disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-184
Number of pages7
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Issue number2
Early online date15 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • comorbidity
  • epidemiology
  • posttraumatic
  • stress disorders


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  • NIHR BRC Mental Health

    Gunnell, D. J.


    Project: Research, Parent

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