Risk Factors for the Development of Psychopathology Following Trauma

  • Sehrish SayedEmail author
  • Brian M. Iacoviello
  • Dennis S. Charney
Disaster Psychiatry: Trauma, PTSD, and Related Disorders (E Foa and A Asnaani, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Disaster Psychiatry: Trauma, PTSD, and Related Disorders


Traumatic experiences can lead to a range of mental health problems with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) leading as the most documented disorder following trauma. Epidemiological research has found the rate of exposure to trauma to far outweigh the prevalence of PTSD. Indicating that most people do not develop PTSD following a traumatic event, this phenomenon has led to an interest in evaluating risk factors to determine who develops PTSD. Risk factors for the development of psychopathology following trauma exposure fall into three categories: pre-trauma, peri-trauma and post-trauma factors. Pre-trauma factors can include age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, prior psychopathology, and neurobiological factors. Peri-trauma factors can include the duration/severity of trauma experience and the perception that the trauma has ended. Post-trauma factors can include access to needed resources, social support, specific cognitive patterns, and physical activity. To date, several important risk factors have been found to impact the risk of developing PTSD including gender, age, education, IQ, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, pre-trauma psychopathology, prior trauma exposure, familial psychiatric history, and neurobiological factors. This article outlines the state of research findings on pretraumatic, peritraumatic, and posttraumatic risk factors for the development of PTSD and associated psychopathology following trauma.


Posttraumatic stress disorder Risk factors Predictors Trauma Resilience 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Sehrish Sayed and Dennis S. Charney declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Brian M. Iacoviello has received grants from the National Institutes of Health/NIMH (Grant 5K23MH099223) and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (NARSAD YI Grant 19080).

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sehrish Sayed
    • 1
    Email author
  • Brian M. Iacoviello
    • 1
  • Dennis S. Charney
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA

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