Clinical Considerations in Assessing Trauma and PTSD in Adolescents

Habib, Mandy; Labruna, Victor
July 2011
Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma;Jul2011, Vol. 4 Issue 3, p198
Academic Journal
The developmental tasks and underlying neurobiological development associated with adolescence result in high rates of traumatization and posttraumatic stress disorder for this age group. Although the development of new measures is ongoing, assessing traumatized adolescents continues to present challenges. This article outlines some of the issues complicating an accurate assessment of trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder. Inaccuracies inherent in reporting traumatic exposure and associated sequelae are confounded by varying definitions of trauma, chronicity or multiplicity of exposure, and developmental factors unique to adolescence. Considerations in conducting thorough assessments are reviewed, with a focus on understanding the factors underlying the unintentional minimization and/or active concealment of traumatic events and trauma symptoms. Suggestions for enhancing assessment accuracy are offered, and treatment implications are discussed.


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