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03-07-2018 | Review Paper | Uitgave 11/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 11/2018

Developmental considerations for assessment of trauma symptoms in preschoolers: a review of measures and diagnoses

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 11/2018
Kristen R. Choi, Sandra A. Graham-Bermann
Belangrijke opmerkingen
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors. For this type of study formal consent is not required.


Child maltreatment can lead to a unique set of trauma stress among young children that can be challenging to measure. The purpose of this review was to review measures of maltreatment-related trauma outcomes (trauma-related symptoms and post-traumatic stress disorders) in very young children (ages 0–6) and to examine research trends in how and if child development is accounted for in this area of measurement. A systematic search strategy was used to identify articles in two databases, CINAHL and PsychInfo. Articles were eligible for inclusion in the review if they measured trauma symptoms in children ages 0–6, were quantitative research reports of studies conducted in North America, and were published in English. The search resulted in 74 articles meeting prespecified inclusion criteria. Results suggested that recognition of the ways maltreatment trauma affects child development and the importance of developmental sensitivity in assessing trauma symptoms has grown in recent years. However, many research studies did not use developmental frameworks and applied adult-oriented trauma symptom frameworks in measurement and treatment. Behavioral symptoms were the primary outcome of interest for this age group. There was also incongruity and lack of consensus about diagnostic tools for post-traumatic stress disorders in young children. Further research is needed to resolve theoretical and empirical controversies related to measurement and diagnosis of trauma symptomatology in young children.

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