Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Meaningful in the Context of the COVID‐19 Pandemic? A Response to Van Overmeire's Commentary on Karatzias et al. (2020)

Mark Shevlin, Philip Hyland, Thanos Karatzias

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Abstract

In a recently published study in this journal that used a population‐based sample in the Republic of Ireland (Karatzias et al., 2020), we concluded that 17.7% of the sample met the diagnostic requirements for COVID‐19–related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Subsequently, Van Overmeire (2020) has raised concerns about the validity of our findings, arguing that simply experiencing the COVID‐19 pandemic is not sufficient to meet the trauma exposure criterion for a PTSD diagnosis and, consequently, our estimated PTSD prevalence figure was inflated. In this response, we provide (a) an explanation for why the COVID‐19 pandemic can be reasonably considered to be a traumatic event, (b) evidence that PTSD in response to the COVID‐19 pandemic is a meaningful construct, and (c) an argument for why our estimated prevalence rate is not unreasonably high.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)866-868
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Volume33
Issue number5
Early online date2 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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