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This brief paper summarizes comments made in discussing papers given in the November 1988 NIHM workshop “Traumatic Stress: Defining Terms and Instruments”. It raises questions about current criteria for posttraumatic stress in terms of the traumatic events considered appropriate, the coherence of the syndrome described, and the scarcity of data on its course, its familiarity, and its relationship to other syndromes.

It is suggested that long-term studies of general population cases will be needed to answer these questions.