Psychological predictors of post-traumatic stress disorder in children and adolescents

Memarzia, Jessica (2018) Psychological predictors of post-traumatic stress disorder in children and adolescents. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Background
The experience of trauma in childhood, for a minority of individuals, can lead to chronic and distressing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health difficulties. Cognitive models of PTSD demonstrate key factors involved in the development of symptoms, however, research evidence regarding the role of different pre- peri- and post-trauma predictors of PTSD in children and adolescents is limited and variable. Furthermore, there is scope to understand predictors of mental health outcomes other than PTSD. With the expected publication of ICD-11 in 2018, further research is also necessary to develop our understanding of the new diagnostic category of ‘Complex PTSD’ in children and adolescents.

Methods
Firstly, a systematic literature review and meta-analysis was conducted, summarising the current evidence regarding the role of peritraumatic psychological risk factors in the development of PTSD. Secondly, empirical analysis of pre-existing data from a longitudinal study of children and adolescents experiencing a single-event trauma was conducted. Multiple linear regression models were used to assess four theory-derived predictive models of mental health outcomes (PTSD, CPTSD, depression and anxiety) of trauma in this sample.

Results
Population estimates of effect size were moderate for peritraumatic subjective threat and fear as risk factors for PTSD. Effect size estimates for peritraumatic dissociation were small, and evidence for data-driven processing was limited. The empirical study indicated that a cognitive model of predictors was most powerful in predicting the development of all four disorders following trauma, and psychosocial and objective event severity models were weak predictors of mental health outcomes.

Conclusions
Cognitive processes occurring during and after trauma may be valuable markers of which individuals may be at risk of developing PTSD, CPTSD, depression or anxiety after trauma. Further research of multiple predictors and outcomes of trauma is required in children and adolescents, particularly related to CPTSD.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Gillian Aldus
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2018 15:10
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2018 15:10
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/69039
DOI:

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