Toward Assessing Traumatic Events and Stress Symptoms in Preschool Children From Low-Income Families

Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1043, USA.
American Journal of Orthopsychiatry (Impact Factor: 1.5). 05/2008; 78(2):220-8. DOI: 10.1037/a0013977
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Traumatic events can seriously disrupt the development of preschool children. Yet few studies capture developmentally specific examples of traumas and the expression of distress for this age group. Mothers and teachers of 138 preschoolers from low-income families were interviewed about traumatic events and completed a new measure assessing their child's traumatic stress symptoms. They reported traumatic events as the death of a person, death of a pet, family violence, high conflict divorce, sudden family loss, accident or injury, and viewing the World Trade Center attack. Factor analysis of 17 trauma symptoms revealed three internally consistent and valid scales: Intrusions, Emotional Reactivity, and Fears, plus a Total omnibus score. Traumatic stress symptoms varied by the type of event. Scores were higher for traumatic events involving close family members than for distal events.

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