Why are some children more resilient to post-traumatic stress?

February 20, 2014

New Rochelle, NY, February 20, 2014--Children exhibit a range of responses to traumatic events such as natural disasters, with some suffering acute traumatic reactions that resolve over time and others experiencing long-term symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Identifying factors that may help predict which youths are at greater risk of more serious disorders and which are likely to be more resilient following a traumatic event can help determine the care and services needed, according to an article in Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology (JCAP), a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is part of a special issue on pediatric traumatic stress that is available on the JCAP website.

In the article "Resilience and Trajectories of Post-traumatic Stress Among Youth Exposed to Disaster," Carl Weems, PhD and Rebecca Graham, University of New Orleans, LA, compare post-traumatic stress (PTS) symptoms among children exposed to both hurricanes Katrina and Gustav and describe the different risk factors and coping styles associated with resiliency to PTS.

Guest Editors Judith Cohen, MD, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, and Michael Scheeringa, MD, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, emphasize the importance of recognizing the similarities and differences in how children and adults react to traumatic events, and the effect that family dynamics and caregivers can have on treatment strategies and their outcomes in the Journal's Editorial.

In another article, authors Richard Meiser-Stedman, PhD, et al., MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, U.K., and King's College and King's College Hospital, London, caution against using certain cognitive strategies aimed at blocking trauma-related memories in adults and adolescents in the article entitled "Thought Control Strategies and Rumination in Youth with Acute Stress Disorder and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Following Single-Event Trauma."

In "Perceived Parenting Change and Child Posttraumatic Stress Following a Natural Disaster," Vanessa Cobham, PhD and Brett McDermott, MD, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, identify a link between specific parenting practices and increased risk for PTS symptoms among the children in a household following a natural disaster.

Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, Editor-in-Chief of JCAP, and President, Child Mind Institute, New York, NY, states that there is a "palpable shift in the profession towards considering even sub-threshold PTS symptoms a worthy target of intervention in kids who have experienced a possible traumatic event, such as natural disaster or violence. Even children who do not meet specific criteria in terms of how they response to trauma may warrant care--and this care can be helpful. This work is of particular importance in light of recent school shootings and natural disasters."
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About the Journal

Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology (JCAP) is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published 10 times a year online with Open Access options and in print. The Journal is dedicated to child and adolescent psychiatry and behavioral pediatrics, covering clinical and biological aspects of child and adolescent psychopharmacology and developmental neurobiology. Complete tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed online on the JCAP website.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking and Games for Health Journal. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 80 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

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