Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Trauma in Youth in Juvenile Detention

Karen M. Abram, Linda A. Teplin*, Devon R. Charles, Sandra L. Longworth, Gary M. McClelland, Mina K. Dulcan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

498 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine prevalence estimates of exposure to trauma and 12-month rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among juvenile detainees by demographic subgroups (sex, race/ethnicity, and age). Design: Epidemiologic study of juvenile detainees. Master's level clinical research interviewers administered the PTSD module of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children, version IV (DISC-IV), to randomly selected detainees. Setting: A large, temporary detention center for juveniles in Cook County, Illinois (which includes Chicago and surrounding suburbs). Participants: Randomly selected, stratified sample of 898 African American, non-Hispanic white, and Hispanic youth (532 males, 366 females, aged 10-18 years) arrested and newly detained. Main Outcome Measures: Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children, version IV. Results: Most participants (92.5%) had experienced 1 or more traumas (mean, 14. 6 incidents; median, 6 incidents). Significantly more males (93.2%) than females (84.0%) reported at least 1 traumatic experience; 11.2% of the sample met criteria for PTSD in the past year. More than half of the participants with PTSD reported witnessing violence as the precipitating trauma. Conclusion: Trauma and PTSD seem to be more prevalent among juvenile detainees than in community samples. We recommend directions for research and discuss implications for mental health policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-410
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of general psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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