Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Childhood and Adolescence: A Developmental Psychopathology Perspective

Patricia K. Kerig

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With the publication of the new DSM-5 and the recent release of the diagnostic criteria to be used in the forthcoming ICD-11, students, researchers, and clinicians are in need of an authoritative and practical guide to understanding the diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in childhood and adolescence. This is particularly the case given that, other than a designating a separate diagnosis with a smaller constellation of symptoms for preschoolers, these new diagnostic compendia provide virtually no information regarding developmental differences in the onset, expression, and course of the disorder.

Child clinical and adolescent psychologists—whether they are students in training, practitioners, or researchers—will benefit from a book that summarizes the available research on PTSD in young persons, describes accurately what assumptions regarding the diagnosis are and are not to date supported by evidence across developmental periods, and suggests strategies for differential diagnosis between PTSD and other disruptive behavioral and emotional disorders that present with overlapping symptoms in childhood and adolescence. Chapters also will discuss leading-edge issues, such as the construct of posttraumatic growth and resilience, and will summarize the evidence base for treatments focused on alleviating PTSD in young persons through interventions targeting the individual child, the family, and the larger ecological contexts of schools, institutions (e.g., juvenile detention centers), and communities.

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