Characteristics of complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in young people with PTSD following multiple trauma exposure

Lofthouse, Katie, Beeson, Ella, Dalgleish, Tim, Danese, Andrea, Hodgekins, Joanne, Mahoney-Davies, Gerwyn, Smith, Patrick, Stallard, Paul, Wilson, Jon and Meiser-Stedman, Richard ORCID: (2024) Characteristics of complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in young people with PTSD following multiple trauma exposure. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 65 (6). pp. 822-831. ISSN 0021-9630

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Background: Complex PTSD (CPTSD) is a relatively new diagnosis. The objective of the present study was to investigate how trauma characteristics, comorbid psychopathology and cognitive and social factors experienced by children and adolescents with a posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis following exposure to multiple traumatic events differs between those who meet the criteria for CPTSD and those who do not. Method: The present research used baseline data from the DECRYPT trial (BMJ Open, 2021, 11, e047600). Participants (n = 120) were aged 8–17 years and had exposure to multiple traumas and a PTSD diagnosis. The data collected comprised self-report and parent/caregiver-report questionnaires and interviews. Three primary analyses were conducted, comparing number of trauma types, prevalence of sexual trauma and prevalence of intrafamilial abuse between the CPTSD and PTSD-only groups. A range of comorbid psychopathology and cognitive and social factors were compared between the groups in an exploratory secondary analysis. All analyses were preregistered. Results: The CPTSD group (n = 72, 60%) had a significantly higher frequency of sexual trauma than the PTSD-only group (n = 48, 40%). The groups did not significantly differ on number of trauma types or prevalence of intrafamilial abuse. From the secondary analysis, the CPTSD group were found to have significantly higher scores on measures of negative post-traumatic cognitions, depression and panic. These results were replicated in correlation analyses using a continuous measure of CPTSD symptoms. Conclusions: A large proportion of youth exposed to multiple traumatic events met criteria for CPTSD. Sexual trauma appears to be related to CPTSD symptoms. Youth with CPTSD appear to have greater severity of comorbid depression and panic symptoms, as well as more negative post-traumatic cognitions. Further investigation could focus on the directionality and mechanisms for these associations.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Acknowledgements: R.M.S. was funded by a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Career Development Fellowship (CDF2015-08-073) for the DECRYPT trial. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the NIHR Clinical Research Network. The authors have declared that they have no competing or potential conflicts of interest.
Uncontrolled Keywords: post-traumatic stress disorder,cognition,depression,panic,trauma,pediatrics, perinatology, and child health,developmental and educational psychology,psychiatry and mental health ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700/2735
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Groups > Mental Health
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Centres > Lifespan Health
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2023 12:30
Last Modified: 21 May 2024 08:30
DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.13918


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