The impact of exposure to potentially traumatic events during the pandemic on PTSD prevalence in the Netherlands

Anouk Van Duinkerken1, Michel Dückers1, 2, 3, Anne Meerdink4, Marieke Hiemstra5, Mark Bosmans1
1Nivel (Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research), Netherlands
2University of Groningen, Netherlands
3ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre, Netherlands
4GGD GHOR, Netherlands
5National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Netherlands




Assigned to session

1.06 Jeanne Roos, 28-09-2023, 13:30 - 14:45


Crisis, disaster or pandemic related
Public health, prevention, early interventions


It is important to understand the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the trauma-related mental health of affected populations. Objective of this this study is to examine the impact of potentially traumatic events during the pandemic on PTSD prevalence in the Netherlands. Data from the 2022 Corona Health Monitor Adults and Elderly, including the validated Dutch PCL-5, were used.

69.1% of the participants experienced one or more potentially traumatic events: 59.1% was exposed to COVID-19-events, 36.7% experienced other types of exposure. Probable PTSD prevalence was 3.7%. Half of the PTSD cases were attributed to COVID-19-events. Nevertheless, PTSD risk was higher for other types of exposure. PTSD risk factors included loneliness, lack of emotional support, financial difficulties, and long-term COVID-19 symptoms. The PTSD group exhibited poorer well-being and health outcomes.

Exposure to potentially traumatic events during the pandemic had a profound impact on PTSD prevalence. Despite the lower relative impact of COVID-19-events compared to other events, COVID-19-event exposure accounted for a sizable portion of PTSD cases in the Dutch population. This emphasizes the need to address mental health consequences of prolonged crises, its accompanying demand for healthcare, and the importance of mitigation strategies based on risk and protective factors.


Anouk Van Duinkerken

Michel Dückers

Anne Meerdink

Marieke Hiemstra

Mark Bosmans