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Open Access Highly Accessed Primary research

Gender, trauma type, and PTSD prevalence: a re-analysis of 18 nordic convenience samples

Daniel N Ditlevsen and Ask Elklit*

Author Affiliations

National Centre for Psychotraumatology, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, Odense M, DK, 5230, Denmark

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Annals of General Psychiatry 2012, 11:26  doi:10.1186/1744-859X-11-26

Published: 29 October 2012



The aim of the study was to examine a possible trauma type related variance in the gender difference of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) prevalence.


An analysis was conducted on 18 convenience sample studies including data from a total of 5220 participants. The studies all applied the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire – part IV to assess PTSD. Cohen’s d was used to measure variance in gender differences. Trauma types included disasters and accidents, violence, loss, chronic disease and non-malignant diseases.


The results showed an overall gender difference in PTSD prevalence similar to previous findings. Thus, women had a two-fold higher prevalence of PTSD than men. Besides categorical analyses, dimensional analyses of PTSD severity were also performed; the latter were associated with twice as large effect sizes. Females were more vulnerable to PTSD after disasters and accidents, followed by loss and non-malignant diseases. In violence and chronic disease, the gender differences were smallest.


The findings support the existence of a trauma type related variance in gender differences in PTSD prevalence.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Gender differences; Trauma types