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Posttraumatic stress without trauma in children.

Publication ,  Journal Article
Copeland, WE; Keeler, G; Angold, A; Costello, EJ
Published in: Am J Psychiatry
September 2010

OBJECTIVE: It remains unclear to what degree children show signs of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after experiencing low-magnitude stressors, or stressors milder than those required for the DSM-IV extreme stressor criterion. METHOD: A representative community sample of 1,420 children, ages 9, 11, and 13 at intake, was followed annually through age 16. Low-magnitude and extreme stressors as well as subsequent posttraumatic stress symptoms were assessed with the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment. Two measures of posttraumatic stress symptoms were used: having painful recall, hyperarousal, and avoidance symptoms (subclinical PTSD) and having painful recall only. RESULTS: During any 3-month period, low-magnitude stressors occurred four times as often as extreme stressors (24.0% compared with 5.9%). Extreme stressors elicited painful recall in 8.7% of participants and subclinical PTSD in 3.1%, compared with 4.2% and 0.7%, respectively, for low-magnitude stressors. Because of their higher prevalence, however, low-magnitude stressors accounted for two-thirds of cases of painful recall and half of cases of subclinical PTSD. Moreover, exposure to low-magnitude stressors predicted symptoms even among youths with no prior lifetime exposure to an extreme stressor. CONCLUSIONS: Relative to low-magnitude stressors, extreme stressors place children at greater risk for posttraumatic stress symptoms. Nevertheless, a sizable proportion of children manifesting posttraumatic stress symptoms experienced only a low-magnitude stressor.

Duke Scholars

Published In

Am J Psychiatry

DOI

EISSN

1535-7228

Publication Date

September 2010

Volume

167

Issue

9

Start / End Page

1059 / 1065

Location

United States

Related Subject Headings

  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
  • Risk Factors
  • Psychometrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Probability
  • Prevalence
  • North Carolina
  • Male
  • Life Change Events
 

Citation

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ICMJE
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Copeland, W. E., Keeler, G., Angold, A., & Costello, E. J. (2010). Posttraumatic stress without trauma in children. Am J Psychiatry, 167(9), 1059–1065. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2010.09020178
Copeland, William E., Gordon Keeler, Adrian Angold, and E Jane Costello. “Posttraumatic stress without trauma in children.Am J Psychiatry 167, no. 9 (September 2010): 1059–65. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2010.09020178.
Copeland WE, Keeler G, Angold A, Costello EJ. Posttraumatic stress without trauma in children. Am J Psychiatry. 2010 Sep;167(9):1059–65.
Copeland, William E., et al. “Posttraumatic stress without trauma in children.Am J Psychiatry, vol. 167, no. 9, Sept. 2010, pp. 1059–65. Pubmed, doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2010.09020178.
Copeland WE, Keeler G, Angold A, Costello EJ. Posttraumatic stress without trauma in children. Am J Psychiatry. 2010 Sep;167(9):1059–1065.
Journal cover image

Published In

Am J Psychiatry

DOI

EISSN

1535-7228

Publication Date

September 2010

Volume

167

Issue

9

Start / End Page

1059 / 1065

Location

United States

Related Subject Headings

  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
  • Risk Factors
  • Psychometrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Probability
  • Prevalence
  • North Carolina
  • Male
  • Life Change Events