Research Review: Changes in the prevalence and symptom severity of child post-traumatic stress disorder in the year following trauma – a meta-analytic study

a meta-analytic study

Rachel M. Hiller, Richard Meiser-Stedman, Pasco Fearon, Sarah Lobo, Anna MacKinnon, Abigail Fraser, Sarah L. Halligan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective
Understanding the natural course of child and adolescent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has significant implications for the identification of, and intervention for, at-risk youth. We used a meta-analytic approach to examine longitudinal changes in youth PTSD prevalence and symptoms over the first 12 months posttrauma.

Methods
We conducted a systematic review to identify longitudinal studies of PTSD in young people (5–18 years old), excluding treatment trials. The search yielded 27 peer-reviewed studies and one unpublished dataset for analysis of pooled prevalence estimates, relative prevalence reduction and standardised mean symptom change. Key moderators were also explored, including age, proportion of boys in the sample, initial prevalence of PTSD and PTSD measurement type.

Results
Analyses demonstrated moderate declines in PTSD prevalence and symptom severity over the first 3–6 months posttrauma. From 1 to 6 months posttrauma, the prevalence of PTSD reduced by approximately 50%. Symptoms also showed moderate decline, particularly across the first 3 months posttrauma. There was little evidence of further change in prevalence or symptom severity after 6 months, suggesting that it is unlikely a child would lose a PTSD diagnosis without intervention beyond this point.

Conclusions
The current findings provide key information about the likelihood of posttrauma recovery in the absence of intervention and have important implications for our understanding of child and adolescent PTSD. Results are discussed with reference to the timing of PTSD screening and the potential role of early interventions. Findings particularly highlight the importance of future research to develop our understanding of what factors prevent the action of normal recovery from the ‘acute’ posttrauma period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)884-898
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume57
Issue number8
Early online date12 May 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2016

Fingerprint

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
Wounds and Injuries
Research
Longitudinal Studies

Keywords

  • Child
  • Adolescent
  • Trauma
  • Postraumatic stress
  • Meta-anaylsis
  • Longitudinal

Cite this

Research Review: Changes in the prevalence and symptom severity of child post-traumatic stress disorder in the year following trauma – a meta-analytic study : a meta-analytic study. / Hiller, Rachel M.; Meiser-Stedman, Richard; Fearon, Pasco; Lobo, Sarah; MacKinnon, Anna; Fraser, Abigail; Halligan, Sarah L.

In: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol. 57, No. 8, 22.07.2016, p. 884-898.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{9384392324e7419fb27600322b046986,
title = "Research Review: Changes in the prevalence and symptom severity of child post-traumatic stress disorder in the year following trauma – a meta-analytic study: a meta-analytic study",
abstract = "ObjectiveUnderstanding the natural course of child and adolescent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has significant implications for the identification of, and intervention for, at-risk youth. We used a meta-analytic approach to examine longitudinal changes in youth PTSD prevalence and symptoms over the first 12 months posttrauma.MethodsWe conducted a systematic review to identify longitudinal studies of PTSD in young people (5–18 years old), excluding treatment trials. The search yielded 27 peer-reviewed studies and one unpublished dataset for analysis of pooled prevalence estimates, relative prevalence reduction and standardised mean symptom change. Key moderators were also explored, including age, proportion of boys in the sample, initial prevalence of PTSD and PTSD measurement type.ResultsAnalyses demonstrated moderate declines in PTSD prevalence and symptom severity over the first 3–6 months posttrauma. From 1 to 6 months posttrauma, the prevalence of PTSD reduced by approximately 50{\%}. Symptoms also showed moderate decline, particularly across the first 3 months posttrauma. There was little evidence of further change in prevalence or symptom severity after 6 months, suggesting that it is unlikely a child would lose a PTSD diagnosis without intervention beyond this point.ConclusionsThe current findings provide key information about the likelihood of posttrauma recovery in the absence of intervention and have important implications for our understanding of child and adolescent PTSD. Results are discussed with reference to the timing of PTSD screening and the potential role of early interventions. Findings particularly highlight the importance of future research to develop our understanding of what factors prevent the action of normal recovery from the ‘acute’ posttrauma period.",
keywords = "Child, Adolescent, Trauma, Postraumatic stress, Meta-anaylsis, Longitudinal",
author = "Hiller, {Rachel M.} and Richard Meiser-Stedman and Pasco Fearon and Sarah Lobo and Anna MacKinnon and Abigail Fraser and Halligan, {Sarah L.}",
year = "2016",
month = "7",
day = "22",
doi = "10.1111/jcpp.12566",
language = "English",
volume = "57",
pages = "884--898",
journal = "Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry",
issn = "0021-9630",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "8",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Research Review: Changes in the prevalence and symptom severity of child post-traumatic stress disorder in the year following trauma – a meta-analytic study

T2 - a meta-analytic study

AU - Hiller, Rachel M.

AU - Meiser-Stedman, Richard

AU - Fearon, Pasco

AU - Lobo, Sarah

AU - MacKinnon, Anna

AU - Fraser, Abigail

AU - Halligan, Sarah L.

PY - 2016/7/22

Y1 - 2016/7/22

N2 - ObjectiveUnderstanding the natural course of child and adolescent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has significant implications for the identification of, and intervention for, at-risk youth. We used a meta-analytic approach to examine longitudinal changes in youth PTSD prevalence and symptoms over the first 12 months posttrauma.MethodsWe conducted a systematic review to identify longitudinal studies of PTSD in young people (5–18 years old), excluding treatment trials. The search yielded 27 peer-reviewed studies and one unpublished dataset for analysis of pooled prevalence estimates, relative prevalence reduction and standardised mean symptom change. Key moderators were also explored, including age, proportion of boys in the sample, initial prevalence of PTSD and PTSD measurement type.ResultsAnalyses demonstrated moderate declines in PTSD prevalence and symptom severity over the first 3–6 months posttrauma. From 1 to 6 months posttrauma, the prevalence of PTSD reduced by approximately 50%. Symptoms also showed moderate decline, particularly across the first 3 months posttrauma. There was little evidence of further change in prevalence or symptom severity after 6 months, suggesting that it is unlikely a child would lose a PTSD diagnosis without intervention beyond this point.ConclusionsThe current findings provide key information about the likelihood of posttrauma recovery in the absence of intervention and have important implications for our understanding of child and adolescent PTSD. Results are discussed with reference to the timing of PTSD screening and the potential role of early interventions. Findings particularly highlight the importance of future research to develop our understanding of what factors prevent the action of normal recovery from the ‘acute’ posttrauma period.

AB - ObjectiveUnderstanding the natural course of child and adolescent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has significant implications for the identification of, and intervention for, at-risk youth. We used a meta-analytic approach to examine longitudinal changes in youth PTSD prevalence and symptoms over the first 12 months posttrauma.MethodsWe conducted a systematic review to identify longitudinal studies of PTSD in young people (5–18 years old), excluding treatment trials. The search yielded 27 peer-reviewed studies and one unpublished dataset for analysis of pooled prevalence estimates, relative prevalence reduction and standardised mean symptom change. Key moderators were also explored, including age, proportion of boys in the sample, initial prevalence of PTSD and PTSD measurement type.ResultsAnalyses demonstrated moderate declines in PTSD prevalence and symptom severity over the first 3–6 months posttrauma. From 1 to 6 months posttrauma, the prevalence of PTSD reduced by approximately 50%. Symptoms also showed moderate decline, particularly across the first 3 months posttrauma. There was little evidence of further change in prevalence or symptom severity after 6 months, suggesting that it is unlikely a child would lose a PTSD diagnosis without intervention beyond this point.ConclusionsThe current findings provide key information about the likelihood of posttrauma recovery in the absence of intervention and have important implications for our understanding of child and adolescent PTSD. Results are discussed with reference to the timing of PTSD screening and the potential role of early interventions. Findings particularly highlight the importance of future research to develop our understanding of what factors prevent the action of normal recovery from the ‘acute’ posttrauma period.

KW - Child

KW - Adolescent

KW - Trauma

KW - Postraumatic stress

KW - Meta-anaylsis

KW - Longitudinal

U2 - 10.1111/jcpp.12566

DO - 10.1111/jcpp.12566

M3 - Article

VL - 57

SP - 884

EP - 898

JO - Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

JF - Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

SN - 0021-9630

IS - 8

ER -