Prevalence in bereaved people

What is prevalence?

This topic presents the evidence for the prevalence of PTSD in people exposed to abuse and violence. Prevalence represents the overall proportion of individuals in a population who have PTSD. It is different from incidence, which represents only the new cases that have developed over a particular time period. Point prevalence is the proportion of individuals in a population who have the disorder at a given point in time (e.g., at one-month post-trauma), while period prevalence is the proportion of individuals in a population who have the disorder over specific time periods (e.g., one to two months post-trauma). Lifetime prevalence is the proportion of individuals in a population who have ever had the disorder and lifetime morbid risk also includes those who had the disorder but were deceased at the time of the survey.

What is the evidence for the prevalence of PTSD in bereaved people?

Moderate quality evidence finds the lifetime prevalence of PTSD in homicidally bereaved people is between 19.1% and 71%, while current prevalence is between 5.2% and 6%. Time frames varied for measurement of PTSD post-homicide, from 4 months to 5 years.

Moderate to low quality evidence finds the prevalence of PTSD in bereaved children between 4 months and 2.6 years after the World Trade Centre attack was 29.6%. Prevalence in non-bereaved children after the attack was 2.9%.

Moderate to low quality evidence found the prevalence of PTSD in mothers after the loss of an infant ranged from 23% to 49.1% within 3 months post-loss, from 0.6% to 37% between 3 months and 12 months post-loss, and from 3.3% to 15.2% by 18 years post-loss. In fathers, prevalence of PTSD ranged from 5% to 8.4% between 7 weeks and 18 years post-loss.

August 2021

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Last updated at: 12:28 am, 4th August 2021
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