Comparing the prevalence of probable DSM-IV and DSM-5 posttraumatic stress disorder in a sample of U.S. Military Veterans using the PTSD checklist

Abstract: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) changed substantially when Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders transitioned from fourth (DSM-IV) to fifth (DSM-5) edition. Hoge et al. found that although diagnostic prevalence remained consistent across nomenclatures, diagnostic concordance was low (55%). Study goals were to examine both the generalizability of these findings and whether either diagnosis systematically excluded patients. U.S. veterans (N = 1,171) who completed the PTSD Checklist for DSM-IV (PCL-S) and DSM-5 (PCL-5) were classified as: probable PTSD on both measures; probable PTSD on PCL-S only; probable PTSD on PCL-5 only; or no PTSD on either measure. Diagnostic prevalence was equivalent. Unlike Hoge et al.’s findings, diagnostic concordance was high (91.3%). Furthermore, observed demographic and severity differences were driven by disparities between veterans in the no PTSD versus the probable PTSD groups, not diagnostic changes. Findings suggest translatability across measures and that diagnostic changes do not systematically exclude patients.

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