Disqualified qualifiers: evaluating the utility of the revised DSM-5 definition of potentially traumatic events among area youth following the Boston marathon bombing

Tommy Chou*, Aubrey L. Carpenter, Caroline E. Kerns, R. Meredith Elkins, Jennifer Greif Green, Jonathan S. Comer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The DSM-5 includes a revised definition of the experiences that qualify as potentially traumatic events. This revised definition now offers a clearer and more exclusive definition of what qualifies as a traumatic exposure, but little is known about the revision's applicability to youth populations. The present study evaluated the predictive utility of the revised DSM definitional boundaries of traumatic exposure in a sample of youth exposed to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and related events. Methods: Caregivers (N = 460) completed surveys 2 to 6 months postbombing about youth experiences during the events and youth posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms. Results: Experiencing DSM-5 qualifying traumatic events (DSM-5 QTEs) significantly predicted child PTS symptoms (PTSS), whereas DSM-5 nonqualifying stressful experiences (DSM-5 non-QSEs) did not after accounting for DSM-5 QTEs. Importantly, child age moderated the relationship between DSM-5 QTEs and PTSS such that children 7 and older who experienced DSM-5 QTEs showed greater postbombing PTSS, whereas there was no such relationship in children ages 6 and below. Conclusions: Data largely support the revised posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) definition of QTEs in older youth, and also highlight the need for further refinement of the QTE definition for children ages 6 and below.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-373
Number of pages7
JournalDepression and anxiety
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

Keywords

  • PTSD/posttraumatic stress disorder
  • assessment/diagnosis
  • child/adolescent
  • stress
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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