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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Removal from Home as a Primary, Secondary, or Disclaimed Trauma in Maltreated Adolescents

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Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common among maltreated youth but it remains unclear as to whether removal from home is as traumatizing as the maltreatment. This study examined 250 maltreated adolescents aged 11–17 years who were grouped on the basis of whether they (1) endorsed removal from home as their primary traumatic event, (2) endorsed removal from home as a secondary traumatic event, but not their primary traumatic event, or (3) did not endorse removal from home as traumatic. PTSD diagnoses as well as symptoms of PTSD, dissociation, depression, posttraumatic cognitions, and anger expression were measured. Adolescents who endorsed removal from home as their primary traumatic event reported significantly lower levels of PTSD and related symptoms than adolescents in the other groups. The findings are discussed within the context of transactions surrounding removal from home and support previous work that PTSD is a critical concern regarding many maltreated youth.

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Correspondence to Christopher A. Kearney.

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Wechsler-Zimring, A., Kearney, C.A., Kaur, H. et al. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Removal from Home as a Primary, Secondary, or Disclaimed Trauma in Maltreated Adolescents. J Fam Viol 27, 813–818 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-012-9467-8

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