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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

PTSD: How much how soon?

Here's something we will be arguing over for a long time:
"Estimates of military service related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) vary widely, from 4 percent to 45 percent depending on the samples and how PTSD was measured."
That's from "Where You Are Sent and for How Long Influences Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder" by Yu-Chu Shen, Jeremy Arkes, Boon Wah Kwan, Lai Yee Tan, and Thomas V. Williams  http://papers.nber.org/papers/W15183
This indicates some serious measurement problems. Where there are measurement problems, there are angry people.
I would have thought PTSD would show up soon, but that's not the case: "the authors data show that almost 75 percent of the PTSD population in their sample was not diagnosed with PTSD until 200 days after their last deployment. The average lapse between the last deployment and the first diagnosis of PTSD was 291 days."