Racial and ethnic differences in symptom severity of PTSD, GAD, and depression in trauma-exposed, urban, treatment-seeking adults

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of Traumatic Stress, Volume 25, Issue 1, p.106-110 (2012)






Urban, socially disadvantaged individuals are at high risk for traumatic event exposure and its subsequent psychiatric symptomatology. This study examined the association between race/ethnicity and symptom severity of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and depression in an urban clinical sample of 170 trauma-exposed adults. In addition, this study investigated the role of socioeconomic position (SEP) and coping style in the relationship between race/ethnicity and posttrauma psychiatric symptom severity. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that Blacks had lower depression symptom severity compared to Whites. No significant relationship was found between racial/ethnic group status and indices of SEP, PTSD, or GAD symptom severity. Adjustment for trauma exposure, gender, positive reframe coping, avoidance coping and negative coping accounted for 3%, 3%, 8%, 4%, and 3% of the variance in depression severity, respectively; however, Black race remained significantly associated with decreased depression symptom severity accounting for a statistically significant 5% of the variance in lower depression symptom severity. These preliminary findings and their clinical implications are discussed.