Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common and disabling disturbance in primary care. Few studies have been carried out in primary care samples and none have taken into consideration the association between PTSD and personality disorder.
To describe prevalence and risk factors of PTSD and its comorbidity with personality disorder.
General practice centre in Valencia (Spain).
Patients who had experienced at least one traumatic event in their lives were selected from a random sample attending a primary healthcare centre in Valencia and blindly assessed by trained professionals. Patients suffering from PTSD were compared with those who were not. PTSD and personality disorder diagnoses were established using CIDI and SCID-II interviews respectively. Sex, age at the time of experiencing trauma, frequency, multiplicity and type of trauma, dissociative symptoms, personality disorder and severity of PTSD were subjected to multivariate analysis to estimate the probability of developing PTSD and its duration.
Life prevalence rate was 14% and current prevalence 9%. Dissociative symptoms and personality disorder were significantly associated with PTSD. Cluster analysis based on age, frequency and type of trauma revealed the existence of one subgroup composed mainly of women who had experienced frequent body-contact trauma at an early age, developed severe PTSD and suffer from a variety of personality disorders, particularly paranoid personality disorder. Time to the complete disappearance of symptoms was only explained by the initial severity of PTSD.
PTSD is a frequent disorder in general practice and it is often associated with personality disorder. Women who experienced high frequency body-contact traumatic events at an early age often suffer from personality disorder and present a particularly severe form of PTSD deserving referral to specialised care.
Keywords: epidemiology, personality disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, stress