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Polytraumatization and Psychological Symptoms in Children and Adolescents
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry . Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry . Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Local Health Care Services in Central Östergötland, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry . Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
2009 (English)In: European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, ISSN 1018-8827, E-ISSN 1435-165X, Vol. 18, no 5, 274-283 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous research on the impact of traumatic experiences in children and adolescents has focused almost entirely on the effect of single trauma. Research on cumulative traumas been lacking, but Finkelhor (2007) has recently directed the attention to the concept of polyvictimization. As an extension of this concept, this study examined the impact of polytraumatization, operationalized as the number of different potentially traumatic events. The study population comprised two cross-sectional samples of school-aged children (n = 270) and adolescents (n = 400). Information of life-time incidence of traumatic events was collected by the Life Incidence of Traumatic Events (LITE), and psychological symptoms by the parent version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) for the school children and the self-report Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC) for the adolescents. We found that exposure to at least one traumatic event was common in both the samples (63% of the children and 89.5% of the adolescents). The number of different traumatic events, polytraumatization, was highly predictive of symptoms in both samples, and with a few exceptions surpassed the impact of specific events in exploratory analyses. We furthermore replicated previous findings of the important impact of interpersonal over noninterpersonal events on symptoms in both samples, and found an indication that this effect differed by gender in different manners in the two samples. This study emphasizes the significance of both the quantity of traumatic events, polytraumatization, as well as the quality, interpersonal events.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 18, no 5, 274-283 p.
Keyword [en]
child traumatization, symptomatology, multiple traumatization, gender differences
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-15685DOI: 10.1007/s00787-008-0728-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-15685DiVA: diva2:126938
Available from: 2008-11-26 Created: 2008-11-26 Last updated: 2017-12-14
In thesis
1. Psychosocial Stress, Mental Health and Salivary Cortisol in Children and Adolescents
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Psychosocial Stress, Mental Health and Salivary Cortisol in Children and Adolescents
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Stressful experiences and conditions in childhood influence the health and well-being of the growing individual, and can also confer a long-lasting impact into adult life. Delineating the social, mental and biological aspects of stress in children and adolescents is therefore of great concern for human beings. Despite these notions, much knowledge is lacking regarding stress in childhood.

This thesis aimed at examining diverse aspects of stress in children and adolescents: associations between social conditions, traumatic life events, mental health, and salivary cortisol as a measure of the activity of a major physiological stress system. Cross-sectional samples included two non-clinical samples of school-aged children (N=240-336) and adolescents (N =400), and two clinical samples of children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) (N =23) and adolescents who had experienced childhood abuse (N =15). Main measures were salivary cortisol sampled three times a day, and questionnaires to teachers, parents and children with questions about each child’s mental health, traumatic life events and about the socioeconomic situation of the parents.

The main findings include observation of 1) higher cortisol levels in children with a moderate level of psychosocial burden (low socioeconomic status, immigrant family, social impairment of mental health problems), 2) higher cortisol levels in children with OCD who also displayed a tendency to decreasing cortisol in the face of an acute stressor, and 3) cortisol was positively related to mental health problems in abused adolescents. Furthermore, the deleterious effect of 4) traumatic events involving a social dimension, interpersonal traumas, and 5) cumulative traumatic events, polytraumatization, on the mental health of children and adolescents was indicated.

The findings are discussed with respect to the complex interactions between social, mental and biological aspects of children and adolescents. The consequences of adverse experiences in childhood may represent pathways to future health problems. Consideration of the social circumstances in childhood might in the future guide public health policies and the identification of target groups for preventive interventions as well as leading to improvements in treatment for children exposed to severe stress.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2008. 138 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1084
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-15686 (URN)978-91-7393-776-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-12-03, Berzeliussalen, Hälsouniversitetet, Campus US, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-11-26 Created: 2008-11-26 Last updated: 2009-08-21Bibliographically approved

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Gustafsson, Per ENilsson, DorisSvedin, Carl Göran

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