Risky Business: Trauma Exposure and Rate of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in African American Children and Adolescents

Demographics, parental risk factors, and experiencing interpersonal trauma (domestic violence, community violence, and physical and sexual abuse) are related to childhood posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Little is known about these factors and the risk of PTSD in African American children. This study examined associations between PTSD symptoms and gender, age, parent mental illness, parent substance abuse, and interpersonal trauma in African American children. Participants were 257 children and adolescents, ages 8–17 years (M = 11.7, SD = 2.5), who received outpatient mental health treatment. Being female and witnessing domestic violence was associated with more PTSD symptoms. Exposure to community violence and physical abuse increased the odds of clinically significant PTSD symptomatology by more than 2 times. The rate of PTSD (16%) was lower in the current study than in other same-age study populations (25%–40%). Risk factors and identification strategies for PTSD are discussed.

Population of focus: African American children and adolescents

Link to resource: Risky Business: Trauma Exposure and Rate of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in African American Children and Adolescents (pdf)

Date: 2011

Journal: Journal of Traumatic Stress