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Journal Article


Guina J, Nahhas RW, Kawalec K, Farnsworth S. J. Interpers. Violence 2016; ePub(ePub): ePub.


Misawa Air Base Medical Center, Japan.


(Copyright © 2016, SAGE Publishing)






Although many studies have assessed gender differences in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) prevalence, few examine individual PTSD symptoms (PTSSs). Hypothesizing that trauma differences explain many gender differences in symptomatology, this is the first known study to adjust PTSSs for trauma type, and to compare gender differences in those with sexual traumas. Using a cross-sectional survey methodology in a sample of adult outpatients (n = 775), we examined gender, trauma type, PTSSs, suicide, alcohol, and tobacco. Among those with trauma (n = 483), women generally had more severe symptoms than men, but after adjusting for trauma type, only physical reactivity (p =.0002), excessive startle (p =.0005), external avoidance (p =.0007), internal avoidance (p =.0008), psychological reactivity (p =.0009), and suicide attempts (p =.001) remained significantly worse among women, whereas men more commonly reported alcohol problems (p =.007). Among those with PTSD (n = 164), there were no significant PTSS gender differences. Those with sexual trauma had worse symptoms (particularly amnesia) compared with non-sexual trauma (p <.0001 for PTSD diagnosis and total severity), including within each gender. Among those with sexual trauma (n = 157), men had worse recklessness (p =.004) and more commonly reported tobacco (p =.02), whereas women more commonly attempted suicide (p =.02) and had worse avoidance (p =.04). However, when isolating the effects of sexual trauma beyond other traumas, there were no significant symptom difference-in-differences between genders. Our findings suggest that, while women have higher PTSD rates, men with PTSD present similarly. In addition, while women have higher sexual trauma rates, men may have similarly severe responses. Most gender differences in PTSD presentation appear to be explained by trauma type, particularly women having higher rates of sexual trauma. We discuss potential biopsychosocial explanations.

© The Author(s) 2016.

Language: en


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