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Children exposed to trauma should be screened for symptoms of PTSD
  1. Sean Perrin
  1. Department of Psychology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden;

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What is already known on this topic?

Children exposed to traumatic events are at increased risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); however, the true prevalence of PTSD in non-referred children has been difficult to estimate because of variance in sampling and assessment methods across existing studies of at-risk children and adolescents.

What does this paper add?

  • This is the first study to estimate the prevalence of PTSD in children and adolescents. It does so using a meta-analysis of 72 published studies that employ DSM-IV PTSD criteria and structured diagnostic interviews to assess PTSD in trauma-exposed, non-referred children and adolescents.

  • The observed PTSD prevalence of 16% is consistent with prevalence estimates obtained for PTSD in adults from large-scale epidemiological studies employing DSM criteria and structured diagnostic interviews.

  • Similar to research on adults, girls and those exposed to interpersonal trauma had the highest risk for PTSD following traumatic exposure.


  • The findings are the results of a meta-analytic review of the literature and not an epidemiological investigation of PTSD in non-referred children and adolescents.

  • Children exposed to war …

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  • Competing interests None.