Psychological screening of children for post-traumatic stress disorder

J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1999 Oct;40(7):1075-82.


One hundred and seventy children attending a hospital accident and emergency department following everyday trauma were interviewed and completed the Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) screening battery suggested by Yule and Udwin (1991). Diagnostic interviews (CAPS-C) confirmed that 39 (22.9%) fulfilled the DSM-IV criteria for PTSD. There were significant differences between children with and without PTSD on each individual component of the screening battery. Various criteria for caseness were evaluated and at 6 weeks post trauma the screen identified up to 90% of children diagnosed with PTSD and 73% with borderline conditions. A subset of 36 children were reassessed 8 months post trauma and all children with persistent PTSD were correctly identified by initial screen scores. The limitations of the study and the role of screening for PTSD in the absence of proven psychological interventions are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*