Predicting post-tramatic stress disorder in kids

Filed under: Development/Milestones: Babies

An article on MedlinePlus today reported that a simple questionnaire could help predict whether a child injured in an accident is likely to develop post-traumatic stress. Australian researchers found that a short questionnaire they developed to screen children for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was able to spot at-risk children in most cases. The tool could offer a quick, inexpensive way to identify children who need help with the psychological aftermath of a physical trauma, according to the full report in the current issue of Pediatrics. A screening questionnaire was given to 135 children ages 7 to 16 who were admitted to the hospital for injuries from a car crash, fall, or other accident. Six months later, the children underwent the full standard interview used to diagnose PTSD. Overall, it was found that the screening questionnaire identified 82 percent of the children who would develop PTSD, or at least some PTSD symptoms, within 6 months of their accident. It also accurately "screened out" three-quarters of those who would not develop the disorder.

We all hope and pray that our children are never experience anything that might result in PTSD. However, the questionnaire may offer a way to predict if PTSD will develop and provide parents an opportunity to seek proper treatment for their child.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.