Acute Stress, Depression, and Anxiety Symptoms Among English and Spanish Speaking Children with Recent Trauma Exposure
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- Barber, B.A., Kohl, K.L., Kassam-Adams, N. et al. J Clin Psychol Med Settings (2014) 21: 66. doi:10.1007/s10880-013-9382-z
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A growing literature suggests the clinical importance of acute stress disorder symptoms in youth following potentially traumatic events. A multisite sample of English and Spanish speaking children and adolescents (N = 479) between the ages of 8–17, along with their caregivers completed interviews and self-report questionnaires between 2 days and 1 month following the event. The results indicate that children with greater total acute stress symptoms reported greater depressive (r = .41, p < .01) and anxiety symptoms (r = .53, p < .01). Examining specific acute stress subscales, reexperiencing was correlated with anxiety (r = .47, p < .01) and arousal was correlated with depression (r = .50, p < .01) and anxiety (r = .55, p < .01). Age was inversely associated with total acute stress symptoms (r = −.24, p < .01), reexperiencing (r = −.17, p < .01), avoidance (r = −.27, p < .01), and arousal (r = −.19, p < .01) and gender was related to total anxiety symptoms (Spearman’s ρ = .17, p < .01). The current study supports the importance of screening acute stress symptoms and other mental health outcomes following a potentially traumatic event in children and adolescents. Early screening may enable clinicians to identify and acutely intervene to support children’s psychological and physical recovery.