Posttraumatic stress disorder according to DSM-5 and DSM-IV diagnostic criteria: A comparison in a sample of congolese ex-combatants

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Abstract

Background: Compared to DSM-IV, the criteria for diagnosing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been modified in DSM-5. Objective: The first aim of this study was to examine how these modifications impact rates of PTSD in a sample of Congolese ex-combatants. The second goal of this study was to investigate whether PTSD symptoms were associated with perpetrator-related acts or victim-related traumatic events. Method: Ninety-five male ex-combatants in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo were interviewed. Both the DSM-IV and the DSM-5 PTSD symptom criteria were assessed. Results: The DSM-5 symptom criteria yielded a PTSD rate of 50% (n =47), whereas the DSM-IV symptom criteria were met by 44% (n =42). If the DSM-5 would be set as the current ‘‘gold standard,’’ then DSM-IV would have produced more false negatives (8%) than false positives (3%). A minority of participants (19%, n 18) indicated an event during which they were involved as a perpetrator as their most stressful event. Results of a regression analysis (R2 0.40) showed that, after accounting for the number of types of traumatic events, perpetrated violent acts were not associated with the symptom severity of PTSD. Conclusions: The findings demonstrate that more diagnostic cases were produced with the DSM-5 diagnostic rules than were dropped resulting in an increase in PTSD rates compared to the DSM-IV system. The missing association between PTSD symptoms and perpetrated violent acts might be explained by a potential fascinating and excited perception of these acts.

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APA

Schaal, S., Koebach, A., Hinkel, H., & Elbert, T. (2015). Posttraumatic stress disorder according to DSM-5 and DSM-IV diagnostic criteria: A comparison in a sample of congolese ex-combatants. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 6, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.3402/ejpt.v6.24981

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