BACKGROUND: Most studies of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have focused on 'high-risk' populations defined by exposure to trauma.
AIMS: To estimate the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a LMIC, the conditional probability of PTSD given a traumatic event and the strength of associations between traumatic events and other psychiatric disorders.
METHOD: Our sample contained a mix of 3995 twins and 2019 non-twins. We asked participants about nine different traumatic exposures, including the category 'other', but excluding sexual trauma.
RESULTS: Traumatic events were reported by 36.3% of participants and lifetime PTSD was present in 2.0%. Prevalence of non-PTSD lifetime diagnosis was 19.1%. Of people who had experienced three or more traumatic events, 13.3% had lifetime PTSD and 40.4% had a non-PTSD psychiatric diagnosis.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite high rates of exposure to trauma, this population had lower rates of PTSD than high-income populations, although the prevalence might have been slightly affected by the exclusion of sexual trauma. There are high rates of non-PTSD diagnoses associated with trauma exposure that could be considered in interventions for trauma-exposed populations. Our findings suggest that there is no unique relationship between traumatic experiences and the specific symptomatology of PTSD.
Bibliographical noteRoyal College of Psychiatrists.
- Aged, 80 and over
- Life Change Events
- Mental Disorders/epidemiology
- Middle Aged
- Sex Factors
- Social Class
- Socioeconomic Factors
- Sri Lanka/epidemiology
- Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/epidemiology
- Young Adult