Prevalence of traumatic eventsand PTSD symptomatology among a selected sample of undergraduate students


University faculty and mental health counselors often work with students in distress which may be related to their experiences with traumatic accidents, interpersonal violence, or natural disaster. Traumatic events can have long-lasting effects, which include somatic complaints, substance abuse, “flashbacks,” and a reduction in memory and recall. The purpose of this study is to identify the number, types and severity of traumatic events that occur among a student sample from three academic departments (Sociology and Criminal Justice, Social Work, and Human Development) at a rural southern university. The sample of 234 undergraduate students confirmed previous research regarding the high number of self-reported traumas among college students. The study found that college-aged women are much more likely than men to report trauma and to seek counseling and treatment for its effects. Significant differences were noted in distributional patterns for men and women when reporting exposure to stressful events. The study’s findings serve as an important indicator of the need for prevention, early recognition, and treatment for trauma victims. Suggestions are also provided to assist administrators in implementing the appropriate workplace and academic accommodations for PTSD victims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504).


School of Social Work

Document Type





Anxiety disorders, College students, Mental health, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Psychiatric disabilities, Traumatic events

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Social Work in Disability and Rehabilitation