Clinical and biological predictors of vulnerability to PTSD

Ehud Klein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PTSD develops in 15-25% of trauma survivors, namely people who have been exposed to or witnessed an event that involves a direct threat to ones life or physical/psychological integrity. Time limited responses develop in 50-70% of victims during the first 48h (ASR) and in 30-40% over the first 4 weeks (ASD). Many of those with acute posttraumatic symptoms will eventually recover. However 30-50% of those with ASD, will develop PTSD. It thus appears that some people are more vulnerable than others to the pathogenic effects of trauma while others have neurobiological and psychological resources that make them resilient to the long term impact of traumatic exposure. A significant portion of the research in the area of traumatic stress that was done in the last two decades, attempted to identify clinical and biological factors that determine vulnerability to PTSD or predict its onset in trauma survivors. It is now well documented that female gender, previous trauma and previous psychiatric morbidity, especially anxiety and affective disorders, appear to increase the risk for PTSD. Similarly, HPA axis dysfunction, increased heart rate, in the aftermath of trauma and hippocampal size, also seem to be involved in the vulnerability to develop PTSD following traumatic exposure. Several additional factors have been suggested but need further validation. The presentation will provide an updated overview of the current state of knowledge about clinical and biological predictors of vulnerability to PTSD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18
Number of pages1
JournalInternational Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


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