This study examined symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder (ASD), which is often thought of as a precursor to PTSD, among 54 women who already had PTSD for childhood sexual abuse for which they were seeking treatment. We examined the prevalence of ASD symptoms as well as their relationships to trauma symptoms measured by the Trauma Symptom Checklist-40. The ASD diagnosis requires the occurrence of a traumatic life event as well as meeting specific symptoms criteria. We found that fourty-four percent of participants met all symptom criteria for ASD, but only three of these 24 participants described a traumatic life event. Moreover, ASD symptoms were significantly related to trauma symptom scores. These findings suggest that a significant proportion of women with PTSD for childhood sexual abuse may be highly symptomatic for everyday stressful events that would not be experienced as traumatizing to others. Thus, these individuals need assistance in coping with everyday life stressors that do not involve a serious threat or injury in addition to needing help to alleviate their trauma symptoms.
View details for PubMedID 15149937