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J Trauma Stress. 2010 Dec;23(6):725-33. doi: 10.1002/jts.20593. Epub 2010 Dec 3.

Prevalence of exposure to potentially traumatic events in a healthy birth cohort of very young children in the northeastern United States.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030, USA.


Prevalence estimates of very young children's exposure to potentially traumatic events (PTEs) are limited. The study objective was to estimate the lifetime prevalence and correlates of noninterpersonal PTEs and violence exposure in a representative healthy birth cohort (ages 1-3 years) from an urban-suburban region of the United States (37.8% minority, 20.2% poverty). Parents completed 2 surveys approximately 1-year apart. By 24-48 months of age, the prevalence of exposure was 26.3% (14.5% noninterpersonal, 13.8% violence). Exposure was common among children living in poverty (49.0% overall, 19.7% noninterpersonal, 33.7% violence). The most consistent factors associated with exposure were poverty, parental depressive symptoms, and single parenting. Findings underscore the potential for prevention and intervention in early childhood to advance public health and reduce morbidity.

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