A complete understanding of the consequences of service in a war zone includes examining the lifetime and current prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and of partial PTSD. Cases of partial PTSD are persons who have clinically significant symptoms of PTSD, but who do not meet the full diagnostic criteria. The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS) estimated the lifetime prevalence of PTSD to be 30.9% among male theater veterans, 26.% among females; lifetime prevalence of partial PTSD was an additional 22.5% and 21.2%, respectively; current prevalence of partial PTSD was 11.1% in males and 7.8% in females. NVVRS findings indicate that of the 1.7 million veterans who ever experienced significant symptoms of PTSD after the Vietnam war, approximately 830,000 (49%) still experience clinically significant distress and disability from symptoms of PTSD. The contribution of partial PTSD represents an estimated additional 350,000 veterans.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
American Psychiatric Association (1987)Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III-R, American Psychiatric Association, Washington, D.C.
Davidson, J. R. T., and Foa, E. B. (1991). Refining criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder.Hosp. Commun. Psychiat. 42: 259–261.
Evans, A. S. (1987). Subclinical epidemiology.Am. J. Epidem. 124: 545–555.
Egendorf, A., Kadushin, C., Laufer, R. S., Rothbart, C., and Sloan, L. (1981). Legacies of Vietnam: Comparative adjustment of veterans and their peers. Report submitted to the Committee on Veteran's Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives. Government Printing Office.
Endicott, J., Spitzer, R. L., Fleiss, J., and Cohen, J. (1976). The Global Assessment Scale: A procedure for measuring overall severity of psychiatric disturbance.Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 33: 766–771.
Goldberg, J., True, W. R., Eisen, S. A., and Henderson, W. G. (1990). A twin study of the effects of the Vietnam war on posttraumatic stress disorder.J. Am. Med. Assoc. 263: 1227–1232.
Green, B. L. Grace, M. C., Lindy, J. D. Gleser, G. C., and Leonard, A. (1990). Risk factors for PTSD and other diagnoses in a general sample of Vietnam veterans.Am. J. Psychiat. 147: 729–733.
Helzer, J. E., Robins, L. N., and McEvoy, L. (1987), Post-traumatic stress disorder in the general population.N. Engl. J. Med. 317: 1630–1634.
Horowitz, M. J. (1986).Stress Response Syndromes (second edition), Aronson, Northvale, N.J.
Horowitz, M. J., Weiss, D. S., and Marmar, C. R. (1987). Diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.J. Nerv. Ment. Dis. 175: 267–268.
Keane, T. M., Caddell, J. M., and Taylor, K. L. (1988). Mississippi scale for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder: Three studies in reliability and validity.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 56: 85–90.
Keane, T. M., Malloy, P. F., and Fairbank, J. A. (1984). Empirical development of an MMPI subscale for the assessment of combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 52: 888–891.
Kulka, R. A., Schlenger, W. E., Fairbank, J. A., Hough, R. L., Jordan, B. K., Marmar, C. R., and Weiss, D. S. (1987).National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study: Description, current status, and initial PTSD prevalence estimates Testimony submitted to the U.S. Senate Committtee on Veterans' Affairs Oversight Hearing on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Washington, D.C., July 14, 1987.
Kulka, R. A., Schlenger, W. E., Fairbank, J. A. Hough, R. L., Jordan, B. K., Marmar, C. R., and Weiss, D. S. (1990)Trauma and the Vietnam Generation: Report of Findings from the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study Brunner/Mazel, New York.
Kulka, R. A., Schlenger, W. E., Fairbank, J. A., Jordan, B. K., Hough, R. L., Marmar, C. R., and Weiss, D. S. (1992). Assessment of PTSD in the community: Prospects and pitfalls from recent studies of Vietnam veterans.Psychol. Assess. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 3: 547–560.
Meehl, P. E. (1990). Toward an integrated theory of schizotaxia, schizotypy, and schizophrenia.J. Pers. Disord. 4: 1–99.
Regier, D. A., Boyd, J. H., Burke, J. D., Rae, D. S., Myers, J. K., Kramer, M., Robins, L. N., George, L. K., Karno, M., and Locke, B. Z. (1988). One-month prevalence of mental disorders in the United States.Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 45: 977–986.
Robins, L. N., Helzer, J. E., Croughan, J., and Ratcliff, K. S. (1981a). National Institute of Mental Health Diagnostic Interview Schedule: Its history, characteristics, and validity.Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 38: 318–389.
Robins, L. N., Helzer, J. E., Croughan, J. Williams, J. B. W., and Spitzer, R. L. (1981B).NIMH Diagnostic Interview Schedule: Version III-A (May 1981) National Institute of Mental Health, Rockville, Md.
Schlenger, W. E., and Kulka, R. A. (1987). Performance of the Fairbank-Keane MMPI scale and other self-report measures in identifying post-traumatic stress disorder. Paper presented at the 95th Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, New York.
Spitzer, R. L., Williams, J. B. W., and Gibbon, M. (1987). Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R, Version NP-V, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Biometrics Research Department, New York.
Weiss, D. S. (1992). Structured clinical interview techniques. In Wilson, J. P., and Raphael, B. (eds.),The International Handbook of Traumatic Stress Syndromes, Plenum, New York.
Weiss, D. S., Horowitz, M. J., and Wilner, N. A. (1984). The Stress Response Rating Scale: A clinician's measure for rating the response to serious life events.Br. J. Clin. Psychol. 23: 202–215.
Zilberg, N. J., Weiss, D. S., and Horowitz, M. J. (1982). Impact of Event Scale: A cross-validation study and some empirical evidence supporting a conceptual model of stress response syndromes.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 50: 407–414.
About this article
Cite this article
Weiss, D.S., Marmar, C.R., Schlenger, W.E. et al. The prevalence of lifetime and partial post-traumatic stress disorder in Vietnam theater veterans. J Trauma Stress 5, 365–376 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00977234
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- partial disorder