Penn Study: Following Traumatic Event, Early Intervention Reduces Children's PTSD Odds by 73 Percent

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Media Contact:Kim Menard | kim.menard@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-662-6183 October 6, 2010

After experiencing a potentially traumatic event – a car accident, a physical or sexual assault, a sports injury, witnessing violence – as many as 1 in 5 children will develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

A new approach that helps improve communication between child and caregiver, such as recognizing and managing traumatic stress symptoms and teach coping skills, was able to prevent chronic and sub-clinical PTSD in 73 percent of children. The intervention, called the Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CFTSI) also reduced PTSD symptoms in children – which can include reliving a traumatic experience, sleep disturbances, emotional numbness, angry outbursts or difficulties concentrating – and promoted recovery more quickly than a comparison intervention.

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