Early screening tool IDs PTSD in preschool-aged children

September 24, 2013
Early screening tool IDs PTSD in preschool-aged children
An early screening tool can be used to identify posttraumatic stress disorder in infants and young children shortly after unintentional injury, according to a study published online Sept. 23 in Pediatrics.

(HealthDay)—An early screening tool can be used to identify posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in infants and young children shortly after unintentional injury, according to a study published online Sept. 23 in Pediatrics.

Didier N. Kramer, from the University Children's Hospital Zurich in Switzerland, and colleagues examined the effectiveness and selection of predictors of an early screening tool for PTSD in a sample of 87 2- to 6-year olds, six to 14 days after unintentional injury. The screener consisted of an adapted version of the Pediatric Emotional Distress Scale (PEDS), the PEDS-Early Screener (PEDS-ES), and questions on five additional risk factors. Six months after the accident, the PTSD semi-structured interview and observational record for infants and young children served as a criterion measure. Cases meeting the criteria for full or partial PTSD were considered positive.

The researchers found the best performing to be the PEDS-ES, without the additional risk factors. This had 85 percent sensitivity and 63 percent specificity for full or partial PTSD.

"The PEDS-ES allows for successful early screening of preschool-aged children after single accidental trauma," the authors write. "It may be used within a stepped- for early identification of individuals designated for possible secondary preventative interventions."

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