Acute stress disorder risk factors

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Simrat Sarai, M.D. [2]


Common risk factors in the development of acute stress disorder are temperamental, environment, and genetic and physiological.[1][2][3][4][5]

Risk Factors

Risk factors for acute stress disorder include the following:[1][2][3][4][5]

Risk factors Description
  • Prior mental disorder
  • High levels of negative affectivity (neuroticism)
  • Greater perceived severity of the traumatic event
  • An avoidant coping style
  • Catastrophic appraisals of the traumatic experience, often characterized by exaggerated assessment of future harm, guilt, or hopelessness, are strongly predictive of acute stress disorder
  • History of prior trauma
  • Absent social support
Genetic and physiological
  • Females are at greater risk for developing acute stress disorder
  • Elevated reactivity, as reflected by acoustic startle response, prior to trauma exposure increases the risk for developing acute stress disorder


  1. 1.0 1.1 Harvey AG, Bryant RA (1999). "Predictors of acute stress following motor vehicle accidents". J Trauma Stress. 12 (3): 519–25. doi:10.1023/A:1024723205259. PMID 10467559.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Harvey AG, Bryant RA (1998). "Predictors of acute stress following mild traumatic brain injury". Brain Inj. 12 (2): 147–54. PMID 9492962.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Barton KA, Blanchard EB, Hickling EJ (1996). "Antecedents and consequences of acute stress disorder among motor vehicle accident victims". Behav Res Ther. 34 (10): 805–13. PMID 8952123.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Guthrie RM, Bryant RA (2005). "Auditory startle response in firefighters before and after trauma exposure". Am J Psychiatry. 162 (2): 283–90. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.162.2.283. PMID 15677592.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Blatchley FR, Donovan BT (1976). "Progesterone secretion during pregnancy and pseudopregnancy in the ferret". J Reprod Fertil. 46 (2): 455–6. PMID 1255579.