PTSD Statistics

General PTSD Statistics

  • Prevalence: Approximately 6-9% of the general population will experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lives (American Psychiatric Association, 2023).
  • Gender Differences: Women are about twice as likely as men to develop PTSD, with an estimated 10% of women and 4% of men developing PTSD at some point in their lives (Kessler, Sonnega, Bromet, Hughes, & Nelson, 1995).
  • Age Factors: Younger individuals are at a higher risk, with the highest rates of PTSD found in those aged 18-29 (Kessler et al., 2005).
  • Comorbidity: PTSD often co-occurs with other mental health disorders, with approximately 80% of individuals with PTSD having at least one other mental health disorder (Kessler, Chiu, Demler, & Walters, 2005).
  • Lifetime Prevalence: The lifetime prevalence of PTSD in the U.S. adult population is about 6.8% (Kessler, Berglund, Demler, Jin, Merikangas, & Walters, 2005).
  • Annual Prevalence: In a given year, approximately 3.5% of U.S. adults are diagnosed with PTSD (American Psychiatric Association, 2023).
  • Childhood Trauma: Exposure to trauma during childhood significantly increases the risk of developing PTSD later in life. About 5% of adolescents develop PTSD (McLaughlin et al., 2013).
  • Socioeconomic Factors: Lower socioeconomic status is associated with a higher risk of developing PTSD (Breslau, Davis, Andreski, & Peterson, 1991).
  • Natural Disasters and PTSD: Following natural disasters, about 30-40% of direct victims, rescue workers, and first responders may show symptoms of PTSD (Neria, Nandi, & Galea, 2008).
  • Racial and Ethnic Differences: Minorities, particularly African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, have higher rates of PTSD than non-Hispanic whites (Roberts, Gilman, Breslau, Breslau, & Koenen, 2011).
  • Impact of Sexual Assault: Women who have experienced rape have a significantly higher risk of developing PTSD. Approximately 50% of women who have been raped develop PTSD symptoms (Resnick, Kilpatrick, Dansky, Saunders, & Best, 1993).
  • Global Perspective: Worldwide, the prevalence of PTSD varies, with post-conflict settings showing higher rates. In some war-torn regions, the prevalence can exceed 50% (Johnson & Thompson, 2008).
  • Treatment Seeking: Only about 60% of individuals with PTSD seek professional help (Wang et al., 2005).
  • Economic Impact: The economic burden of PTSD is substantial, including healthcare costs, lost productivity, and increased risk of other health conditions (Greenberg et al., 1999).

PTSD in Veterans

  • Prevalence: Rates of PTSD in veterans vary significantly by service era, with about 11-20% of Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF) veterans, approximately 12% of Gulf War veterans, and about 30% of Vietnam War veterans experiencing PTSD in a given year (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2023).
  • Gender Differences: Among veterans, women are more likely to develop PTSD, with about 23% of women reporting sexual assault during their military service (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2023).
  • Long-Term Impact: A significant portion of Vietnam War veterans, about 30%, have had PTSD in their lifetime (Kulka et al., 1990).
  • Service Connection: PTSD is the third most common service-connected disability among veterans (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2023).

PTSD in First Responders

  • Prevalence: PTSD affects approximately 10-35% of first responders, a rate much higher than the general population (Berger, Coutinho, Figueira, Marques-Portella, Luz, Neylan, Marmar, & Mendlowicz, 2012).
  • High-Risk Events: Exposure to traumatic events such as natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and mass shootings significantly increases the risk of PTSD among first responders (Greinacher, Derezza-Greeven, Herzog, & Nikendei, 2019).
  • Underreporting: Stigma and a culture of resilience may lead to underreporting and underdiagnosing of PTSD in this group (Wild et al., 2016).

PTSD in Firefighters

  • Prevalence: Studies indicate that about 7-37% of firefighters experience PTSD, with variability depending on exposure to traumatic events (Corneil, Beaton, Murphy, Johnson, & Pike, 1999).
  • Risk Factors: Factors such as longer duration of service, higher exposure to traumatic events, and lack of social support increase the risk of PTSD among firefighters (Stanley et al., 2017).
  • Comorbidity: Firefighters with PTSD often experience comorbid conditions such as depression and substance abuse (Stanley et al., 2017).
  • Impact of Work Culture: Similar to other first responders, the culture within firefighting can impact the reporting and treatment of PTSD, often discouraging seeking help (Bryant et al., 2020).


American Psychiatric Association. (2023). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.).

Berger, W., Coutinho, E. S. F., Figueira, I., Marques-Portella, C., Luz, M. P., Neylan, T. C., Marmar, C. R., & Mendlowicz, M. V. (2012). Rescuers at risk: A systematic review and meta-regression analysis of the worldwide current prevalence and correlates of PTSD in rescue workers. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 47(6), 1001-1011.

Breslau, N., Davis, G. C., Andreski, P., & Peterson, E. (1991). Traumatic events and posttraumatic stress disorder in an urban population of young adults. Archives of General Psychiatry, 48(3), 216-222.

Bryant, R. A., Creamer, M., O’Donnell, M., Silove, D., McFarlane, A. C., & Forbes, D. (2020). The psychiatric sequelae of traumatic injury. American Journal of Psychiatry, 167(3), 312-320.

Corneil, W., Beaton, R., Murphy, S., Johnson, C., & Pike, K. (1999). Exposure to traumatic incidents and prevalence of posttraumatic stress symptomatology in urban firefighters in two countries. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 4(2), 131-141.

Greenberg, P. E., Sisitsky, T., Kessler, R. C., Finkelstein, S. N., Berndt, E. R., Davidson, J. R. T., Ballenger, J. C., & Fyer, A. J. (1999). The economic burden of anxiety disorders in the 1990s. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 60(7), 427-435.

Greinacher, A., Derezza-Greeven, C., Herzog, W., & Nikendei, C. (2019). Secondary traumatization in first responders: A systematic review. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 10(1), 1562840.

Johnson, H., & Thompson, A. (2008). The development and maintenance of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in civilian adult survivors of war trauma and torture: A review. Clinical Psychology Review, 28(1), 36-47.

Kessler, R. C., Chiu, W. T., Demler, O., & Walters, E. E. (2005). Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6), 617-627.

Kessler, R. C., Sonnega, A., Bromet, E., Hughes, M., & Nelson, C. B. (1995). Posttraumatic stress disorder in the National Comorbidity Survey. Archives of General Psychiatry, 52(12), 1048-1060.

Kulka, R. A., Schlenger, W. E., Fairbank, J. A., Hough, R. L., Jordan, B. K., Marmar, C. R., & Weiss, D. S. (1990). Trauma and the Vietnam War generation: Report of findings from the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study. Brunner/Mazel.

McLaughlin, K. A., Koenen, K. C., Hill, E. D., Petukhova, M., Sampson, N. A., Zaslavsky, A. M., & Kessler, R. C. (2013). Trauma exposure and posttraumatic stress disorder in a national sample of adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 52(8), 815-830.e14.

Neria, Y., Nandi, A., & Galea, S. (2008). Post-traumatic stress disorder following disasters: A systematic review. Psychological Medicine, 38(4), 467-480.

Resnick, H. S., Kilpatrick, D. G., Dansky, B. S., Saunders, B. E., & Best, C. L. (1993). Prevalence of civilian trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder in a representative national sample of women. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 61(6), 984-991.

Roberts, A. L., Gilman, S. E., Breslau, J., Breslau, N., & Koenen, K. C. (2011). Race/ethnic differences in exposure to traumatic events, development of post-traumatic stress disorder, and treatment-seeking for post-traumatic stress disorder in the United States. Psychological Medicine, 41(1), 71-83.

Stanley, I. H., Hom, M. A., Hagan, C. R., & Joiner, T. E. (2017). Career prevalence and correlates of suicidal thoughts and behaviors among firefighters. Journal of Affective Disorders, 218, 213-219.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023). PTSD: National Center for PTSD. Retrieved from

Wang, P. S., Lane, M., Olfson, M., Pincus, H. A., Wells, K. B., & Kessler, R. C. (2005). Twelve-month use of mental health services in the United States: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6), 629-640.

Wild, J., Smith, K. V., Thompson, E., Béar, F., Lommen, M. J. J., & Ehlers, A. (2016). A prospective study of pre-trauma risk factors for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Psychological Medicine, 46(12), 2571-2582.