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Adolescence. 1996 Summer;31(122):489-98.

Exposure to violence and post-traumatic stress disorder in urban adolescents.

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Department of Psychology and Philosophy, Texas Woman's University, Denton, USA.


The prevalence and severity of stressors in the lives of urban adolescents may predispose them to symptoms of psychological stress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The purpose of this study was to investigate variables associated with the incidence of symptomatology characteristic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in adolescents in a major metropolitan area. One hundred and three high school juniors completed The Keane PTSD Scale, the Civilian Mississippi Scale for PTSD, and a demographic questionnaire was completed by 97 high school juniors of whom 29% indicated clinical levels of PTSD symptomatology. Comparisons of incidence were made with regard to gender, ethnicity, family constellation, self-reported exposure to violence, self-reported exposure to trauma, and incidence of violent crime in the vicinity of school attendance. Results revealed that minority males were exposed in their neighborhoods and schools to more violent crime than were any other group. A gender effect in response to violent crime was evident. In the school with the highest rates of murder, assault, and individual robbery, boys achieved low to mid-range PTSD scores, while girls obtained the highest PTSD scores of all participants in the study, indicating that girls may respond to violence with more symptoms of PTSD than boys.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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