Post-traumatic stress disorder in physically abused adolescents

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. Mar-Apr 1994;33(3):305-12. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199403000-00002.


Objective: In an investigation of the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), other Axis I psychiatric disorders, and social and behavioral difficulties, 27 physically abused adolescents were compared with 27 nonabused controls who were recruited through random-digit dialing procedures.

Method: The Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnosis (PTSD module), Kiddie-Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia, and Youth Self-Report were administered to all subjects; mothers were interviewed regarding their adolescent's behavior using the Kiddie-Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children and Child Behavior Checklist.

Results: The three physically abused adolescents who received a diagnosis of PTSD on the PTSD module of the Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnosis reported their PTSD symptoms were in reaction to extrafamilial sexual assaults and not to physical abuse. In contrast, the abused adolescents showed significantly higher prevalence rates of depression, conduct disorder, internalizing and externalizing behavior problems, and social deficits.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that physically abused adolescents may be more at risk for behavioral and social difficulties than for PTSD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*