Does it hurt to ask children about trauma?

Is it harmful to ask children about their (potential) traumatic history or posttraumatic stress reactions? It’s a recurring question, especially in research settings but also in the context of clinical services and day-to-day interactions with children. Often we decide to ask or not to ask based on gut feelings, but who knows whether they are correct?

Three issues are of particular interest and importance I think: 1) Is it necessary to do trauma research with children while we could also do studies with adults and translate the findings? 2) How do we get an idea of whether it actually hurts to ask about trauma? and 3) What empirical evidence do we have so far? Continue reading