College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Assessment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Older Adults: A Critical Review

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1994

Keywords

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Aging, Assessment, Measurement, Psychotherapy

Publication Title

Clinical Psychology Review

ISSN

0272-7358

Volume

14

Issue/No.

5

Abstract

Three trauma-related areas (combat, natural and man-made disasters, and the Holocaust) are reviewed to ascertain the extent to which assessment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has been carried out with an older adult population. Investigations that include subjects who are at least 50 years of age were considered for selection in each area. Although no single assessment strategy emerged as a reliable evaluative tool, many studies in the three areas found that older adults meet diagnostic criteria for PTSD-delayed onset as long as 45 years after experiencing such trauma. Lack of consistency in the findings is discussed in terms of methodological problems, differing theoretical perspectives, and revisions in the criteria for diagnosis from DSM-III to DSM-III-R. Recommendations for future research are made with proposed DSM-IV changes in criteria and subtype considered.

DOI

10.1016/0272-7358(94)90034-5