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