4 Meta-analyses of predictors of PTSD in children: An overview

One of the main questions of child trauma psychologists is which children are most vulnerable for PTSD after a traumatic event. The answer would help us to develop interventions that address causes of distress and to focus on the children most in need.

Recently, a fourth meta-analysis on predictors of posttraumatic stress in children has been published, which makes it interesting to compare findings and methods (yes, in that order, for busy people). It gives clinicians insight in risk factors for PTSD and it shows academics what needs to be studied in the next few years.

These are the four meta-analyses I know of, published over a period of 6 years: Kahana et al. (2006), Cox et al. (2008), Alisic et al. (2011), and Trickey et al. (2012). In a nutshell, the reviews combined correlational effect sizes to see which risk factors are associated with children’s posttraumatic stress symptoms. Their methods varied, which I will summarize below, but the findings converge to a number of interesting conclusions. Continue reading

Predictors of PTSD in children and adults

We know that traumatic events occur quite often. We also know that most people are resilient, even though many survivors experience some distress in the direct aftermath of an event. Only a minority will develop longer-term stress symptoms. What are their characteristics? Who is ‘at risk’ after trauma? If we know the answer, we can target mental health care services to the survivors who are most in need.

In the last 30 years, more and more research has been published on predictors of posttraumatic stress. Mainly in adults, but also in children. Continue reading