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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 …
Competing interests None.
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