Three-Quarters of Sexual Assault Survivors Have PTSD

Most of the recovery from symptoms happens in the first three months following sexual assault, after which the rate of recovery slows

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common and severe following sexual assault, according to a review published online July 19 in Trauma, Violence, & Abuse.

Emily R. Dworkin, Ph.D., from University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis to estimate the prevalence and severity of PTSD and changes to the average rate of recovery in the 12 months following sexual assault.

Based on 22 identified studies (2,106 sexual assault survivors), about 74.6 percent of individuals met diagnostic criteria for PTSD in the first month following sexual assault, while roughly 41.5 percent met the criteria at 12 months following sexual assault. PTSD symptom severity was about 47.9 percent of maximum severity at one month and 29.9 percent at 12 months following sexual assault. The average rate of recovery slowed after the first three months after sexual assault.

“One of the main takeaways is that the majority of recovery from posttraumatic stress happens in [the] first three months,” Dworkin said in a statement. “We hope this will give survivors and clinicians a sense of what to expect and convey some hope.”

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