Post-traumatic stress disorder in maltreated youth: a study of diagnostic comorbidity and child factors

J Interpers Violence. 2004 Oct;19(10):1087-101. doi: 10.1177/0886260504269097.


The study of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in maltreated youth has received increased attention, though extensive comparisons to maltreated youth without PTSD and administrations of anxiety-based structured diagnostic interviews remain needed. We examined maltreated youth with or without PTSD using structured diagnostic interviews and standardized child self-report measures. We hypothesized that maltreated youth with PTSD, compared to their peers without PTSD, would experience significantly greater duration of abuse, diagnostic comorbidity, PTSD symptomatology, dysfunctional family environment, and avoidant coping styles. Results indicated that the group with PTSD did indeed experience significantly greater duration of abuse, diagnostic comorbidity, and PTSD symptomatology, though less so dysfunctional family environment or avoidant coping styles. The presence of a mood or anxiety disorder was highly predictive of PTSD in this sample. Results are discussed within the context of evolving etiological and maintenance models of PTSD in maltreated youth.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Idaho
  • Male
  • Nevada
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Psychology, Child
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychotic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / complications
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology*
  • Time Factors