Posttraumatic stress symptoms in children and adolescents referred for child welfare investigation. A national sample of in-home and out-of-home care.
This study examines the prevalence and correlates of heightened posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms in a nationally representative sample of 1,848 children and adolescents (ages 8-14) who were referred to child welfare for investigation of abuse or neglect based on the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being. The severity of current PTS symptoms was assessed using the PTS subscale of the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children, a standardized child-report scale evaluating common symptoms associated with trauma. The overall prevalence of clinically significant PTS symptoms was 11.7% (overall mean T score = 49.5). The prevalence was higher for cases that were placed in out-of-home care (19.2%) than those maintained at home (10.7%). Multivariate hierarchical regression identified four contributors to heightened PTS symptoms: younger child age, abuse by a nonbiological parent, violence in the home, and child depression. The authors discuss the modest but still lower than expected prevalence of self-reported, clinically significant PTS symptoms and the variables associated with greater risk for heightened PTS symptoms found among cases referred to child welfare services.
Kolko, DJ; Hurlburt, MS; Zhang, J; Barth, RP; Leslie, LK; Burns, BJ
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