Delayed-onset post-traumatic stress disorder among war veterans in primary care clinics

B. Christopher Frueh, Anouk L. Grubaugh, Derik E. Yeager, Kathryn M. Magruder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Background: Only limited empirical data support the existence of delayed-onset post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Aims: To expand our understanding of delayed-onset PTSD prevalence and phenomenology. Method: A cross-sectional, epidemiological design (n = 747) incorporating structured interviews to obtain relevant information for analyses in a multisite study of military veterans. Results: A small percentage of veterans with identified current PTSD (8.3%, 7/84), current subthreshold PTSD (6.9%, 2/29), and lifetime PTSD only (5.4%, 2/37) met criteria for delayed onset with PTSD symptoms initiating more than 6 months after the index trauma. Altogether only 0.4% (3/747) of the entire sample had current PTSD with delayed-onset symptoms developing more than 1 year after trauma exposure, and no PTSD symptom onset was reported more than 6 years posttrauma. Conclusions: Retrospective reports of veterans reveal that delayed-onset PTSD (current, subthreshold or lifetime) is extremely rare 1 year post-trauma, and there was no evidence of PTSD symptom onset 6 or more years after trauma exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-520
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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