- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has not been examined systematically in long-term survivors of lymphoma. In this study, PTSD and health related quality of life (HRQoL) were assessed in 44 patients with Hodgkin's disease (n = 8) or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (n = 36). Forty-four individuals who had experienced traumatic events as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV (DSM-IV) as possible triggers for PTSD served as controls. The study participants were administered two questionnaires-the PTSD inventory scale and the Short Form-36 (SF-36) HRQoL instrument measuring physical and mental HRQoL. Full PTSD was defined as meeting the DSM-IV criteria for the diagnosis in all three symptom groups measured on the PTSD inventory scale-intrusion, avoidance and hyper-arousal and partial PTSD as meeting the diagnostic criteria in two of the symptom groups. There was a significant increase in the hyper-arousal scale in the lymphoma survivor group (F 5, P < 0.05). Overall, full or partial PTSD was found in 14 lymphoma survivors (32%) and in 11 individuals (25%) in the control group (difference not significant). Survivors whose disease had started at an earlier age suffered significantly more intensive intrusion and avoidance symptoms. The lymphoma survivor group had a significantly lower physical HRQoL than the control group independent of PTSD symptoms. In both groups, the presence of PTSD symptoms correlated with a lower HRQoL. These results suggest that lymphoma is a trauma similar to other more accepted definitions of trauma which can lead to PTSD, and is associated with more severe hyper-arousal symptoms. Psychological interventions in the early stages of treatment or follow-up may help reduce the morbidity from PTSD and improve quality of life.