Researchers from The University of New South Wales find that the presence of dissociation and acute stress disorder after a motor vehicle accident more accurately predicts the later acquisition of PTSD in women than men.. Researchers from The University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia investigated the influence of gender on the relationship between Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in survivors of motor vehicle accidents. Survivors were assessed for ASD within 1-month following the accident (n = 171) and were subsequently assessed for PTSD 6-months later (n = 134).

Acute stress disorder within the first month was diagnosed in 8% of males and 23% of females. At the 6-month follow-up, PTSD was diagnosed in 15% of males and 38% of females.

Of those males diagnosed with ASD, 57% were subsequently diagnosed with PTSD. Of the females with ASD, 92% acquired PTSD. In addition, it was noted that, consistent with previous findings, females displayed significantly more dissociation before, during and after the trauma than males.

The study concludes that peritraumatic dissociation and Acute Stress Disorder is a more accurate predictor of PTSD in females than males, although they predict PTSD to a lesser extent with males as well. Investigators suggested that the gender difference could be explained in terms of response bias or biological differences in trauma response between males and females.

Citation: Bryant RA, Harvey AG. Gender differences in the relationship between acute stress disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder following motor vehicle accidents. A.ustralia & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 2003 Apr;37 (2): pp.226-9. [email protected]