Physical and sexual abuse in childhood: relationship with post-traumatic stress disorder

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1991 Sep;30(5):776-83.


This study describes the reactions of children and adolescents to physical and/or sexual abuse, suggesting two distinct symptom pictures. Findings indicate that a majority (55%) of this clinical population develop symptoms characteristic of post-traumatic stress disorder, whereas abused children and adolescents who do not develop associated post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms exhibit more anxiety, depression, externalizing behaviors, and more problems overall. Significant differences were also found between children and adolescents reacting to single event abuse who display more behavior disorders and victims of ongoing abuse who appear significantly more disturbed, with symptoms ranging from depression to psychosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / diagnosis
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / diagnosis
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology*
  • Day Care, Medical
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Development*
  • Personality Inventory
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*