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01-08-2008 | Uitgave 6/2008

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 6/2008

Post-Traumatic Reactions in Adolescents: How Well Do the DSM-IV PTSD Criteria Fit the Real Life Experience of Trauma Exposed Youth?

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology > Uitgave 6/2008
Andrea L. Saul, Kathryn E. Grant, Jocelyn Smith Carter


This study examined the structure and symptom specific patterns of post traumatic distress in a sample of 1,581 adolescents who reported exposure to at least one traumatic event. Symptom reporting patterns are consistent with past literature in that females reported more symptoms than males and older youth reported more symptoms than did their younger peers. Young people reporting exposure to exclusively violent type traumas were also found to be more likely to endorse symptoms than peers exposed exclusively to non violent type traumas. Confirmatory factor analysis provided stronger support for a four-factor model of PTSD than either the DSM-IV model or an alternate model. Further examination of the four factor model revealed gender differences in factor loadings with small to moderate effect sizes for recurrent, distressing memories, flashbacks, restricted affect, difficulty remember details, detachment, limited future orientation, hypervigilance and startle symptoms. Differences in factor loadings with the four factor model were also noted between younger and older adolescents, with medium to large effect sizes on the arousal items. In contract, comparison of the factor loadings revealed only small differences between youth exposed exclusively to violent traumatic stressors and those exposed exclusively to non violent traumatic stressors, suggesting relative similarity between these two groups.

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