Malignant memories: PTSD in children and adults after a school shooting

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1991 Nov;30(6):936-44. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199111000-00011.


Sixty-four children and 66 adults were screened for post-traumatic stress disorder 6 to 14 months after a school shooting. Although there were no differences in overall frequencies of DSM-III-R diagnoses or cluster endorsements, there were developmental influences. Post-traumatic stress disorder was associated more with emotional states recalled from the disaster than with proximity. Emotional states mediated the formation of malignant memories leading to symptomatology, suggesting that postdisaster intervention be offered on the basis of degree of emotional reaction as well as proximity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Illinois
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Schools*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Violence*
  • Wounds, Gunshot / psychology*