Caution Advised: Research Links Women’s Genes and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

A study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences (see link below) concluded that women are more prone to a “genetic dysfunction” that makes them more vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The researchers point to certain receptor genes as culpable in raising the risk for PTSD in women. All it took was a change in a single portion of the offending gene to be responsible for the increased levels of anxiety and fear in women who experienced PTSD.

Wisely, the researchers suggest that while the change in the gene “may be a function of genetics,” they also offered that the variation “could be caused by adaptive changes to highly traumatic events.” The reason I say wisely is that I propose caution when pointing to women’s genetic makeup to explain PTSD or postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder.

Postpartum PTSD is a definite condition and can occur in women following certain circumstances around delivery. However despite genetic causes, we must consider traumatic birth experiences, as well as other factors, such as higher rates of PTSD in women due to violence, such as rape and domestic abuse.

It’s not my intent to minimize the results of this new research suggesting that women are more vulnerable to PTSD because of our different genetic make up. But, I suggest we use caution in assuming there aren’t other factors, such as aggression against women, which are at play and are responsible for the higher likelihood and susceptibility to PTSD for women. As a feminist, and therapist, I want to be certain to avoid the tendency to “blame the victim.” I wouldn’t want to excuse any perpetrator of violence by pointing to women’s genetic nature at fault.

For more information on PTSD, see the link:


~ by ppdsus on February 21, 2014.

2 Responses to “Caution Advised: Research Links Women’s Genes and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)”

  1. […] Caution Advised: Research Links Women's Genes and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). […]

  2. I have an enthusiastic analytical vision meant for details and can foresee problems just before they will occur.

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