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Shevlin M.;Hyland P.;Karatzias T.
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)
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© 2020 The Authors. Journal of Traumatic Stress published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies 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.
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