Many practitioners have encountered the situation of a client who would be diagnosed with PTSD except for the fact that their exposure event does not fit with the current DSM-5 Criterion A definition, in other words, it does not fit with the requirement for direct or indirect threat to life or physical safety, or sexual violence. This study recently published in Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy compared the rate of PTSD based on the DSM-5 Criterion A definition as well as an expanded definition of trauma that included events of bullying, stalking, emotional abuse, rejection, and neglect. The respective rates of PTSD based on the Criterion A and expanded definitions of trauma were very similar: 12.7% and 13.2%. The authors argue that, for diagnostic purposes, any event that is judged to be extremely threatening or horrific in nature, rather than the current formal definition, should be considered to meet Criterion A.
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