Posttraumatic Stress and Depressive Symptoms, Alcohol Use, and Recurrent Traumatic Life Events in a Representative Sample of Hospitalized Injured Adolescents and Their Parents

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Abstract

Objective

Few investigations have comprehensively assessed the scope of impairment of injured adolescents presenting to acute care inpatient settings.

Methods

Randomly sampled injured adolescent inpatients and their parents were screened for posttraumatic stress (PTS) and depressive symptoms, preinjury alcohol use, and preinjury trauma. Linear regression was used to assess which clinical, demographic, and injury characteristics were independently associated with increased levels of adolescent PTS and depressive symptoms.

Results

Seventy percent of adolescent–parent dyads endorsed high levels of PTS or depressive symptoms and/or high preinjury alcohol use. Adolescent female gender, greater levels of preinjury trauma, greater subjective distress at the time of the injury, and greater parental depressive symptoms were independently associated with increased levels of adolescent PTS and depressive symptoms.

Conclusions

The adoption of early screening and intervention procedures that broadly consider the scope of impairment of injured adolescents and their family members could enhance the quality of acute care mental health service delivery.

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