Screening for PTSD among detained adolescents: Implications of the changes in the DSM-5.


Journal Article

OBJECTIVE: Screening for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is highly relevant for youth involved in the juvenile justice system given their high rates of trauma exposure and posttraumatic stress symptoms. However, to date, no studies have investigated the implications of the recent revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (5th ed., DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013) diagnostic criteria for PTSD for screening in this population. To this end, the present study compared PTSD screening rates using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text rev., DSM-IV-TR; APA, 2013) versus DSM-5 criteria in a group of detained adolescents. METHOD: Participants included 209 youth (60 girls) aged 13-19 (M = 15.97, SD = 1.24). Youth completed measures of lifetime trauma exposure and past-month posttraumatic stress symptoms. RESULTS: Over 95% of youth in the sample reported exposure to at least 1 type of traumatic event. Approximately 19.60% of the sample screened positive for PTSD according to the DSM-5 compared to 17.70% according to the DSM-IV-TR. Girls were more likely than boys to screen positive for PTSD according to the DSM-IV-TR compared to the DSM-5. CONCLUSION: The main factors accounting for the differences in screening rates across the versions of PTSD criteria involved the removal of Criterion A2 from the DSM-5, the separation of avoidance symptoms (Criterion C) into their own cluster, the addition of a cluster involving negative alterations in cognitions and mood (Criterion D), and revisions to the cluster of arousal symptoms (Criterion E). Future research should continue to investigate gender differences in PTSD symptoms in youth and consider the implications of these diagnostic changes for the accurate diagnosis and referral to treatment of adolescents who demonstrate posttraumatic stress reactions. (PsycINFO Database Record

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Modrowski, CA; Bennett, DC; Chaplo, SD; Kerig, PK

Published Date

  • January 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 9 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 10 - 17

PubMed ID

  • 27213679

Pubmed Central ID

  • 27213679

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1942-969X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/tra0000156


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States