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Rates of post-traumatic stress disorder in trauma-exposed children and adolescents: meta-analysis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Eva Alisic
Affiliation:
Monash Injury Research Institute, Monash University, Monash, Australia, and University Medical Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Alyson K. Zalta
Affiliation:
Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Floryt van Wesel
Affiliation:
Department of Educational Neuroscience, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Sadie E. Larsen
Affiliation:
Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Gertrud S. Hafstad
Affiliation:
Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, Oslo, Norway
Katayun Hassanpour
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital, Zürich, Switzerland
Geert E. Smid
Affiliation:
Foundation Centrum ‘45, Arq Research Program, Diemen, The Netherlands
Corresponding
E-mail address:
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Abstract

Background

It is unclear how many children and adolescents develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after trauma.

Aims

To determine the incidence of PTSD in trauma-exposed children and adolescents as assessed with well-established diagnostic interviews and to examine potential moderators of the estimate.

Method

A systematic literature search identified 72 peer-reviewed articles on 43 independent samples (n = 3563). Samples consisting only of participants seeking or receiving mental health treatment were excluded. Main analyses involved pooled incidence estimates and meta-analyses of variance.

Results

The overall rate of PTSD was 15.9% (95% CI 11.5–21.5), which varied according to the type of trauma and gender. Least at risk were boys exposed to non-interpersonal trauma (8.4%, 95% CI 4.7–14.5), whereas girls exposed to interpersonal trauma showed the highest rate (32.9%, 95% CI 19.8–49.3). No significant difference was found for the choice of assessment interview or the informant of the assessment.

Conclusions

Research conducted with the best available assessment instruments shows that a significant minority of children and adolescents develop PTSD after trauma exposure, with those exposed to interpersonal trauma and girls at particular risk. The estimates provide a benchmark for DSM-5 and ICD-11.

Type
Review Article
Copyright
Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2014 

Footnotes

Declaration of interest

None.

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