Feasibility of a screening program for at-risk children following accidental injury

Sonja March, Justin Kenardy, Vanessa Cobham, Reginald Nixon, Brett McDermott, Alex De Young

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    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Screening is recommended as a simple method for identifying those who should be monitored for risk following trauma. Effective methods for implementing large-scale screening programs are yet to be established. This study tested the feasibility and utility of a screening program with hospitalized youth exposed to injury in 3 Australian hospitals. Eligible families (N = 1,134) were contacted and 546 children (48.0%) screened for risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at 1-2 weeks postinjury. There were 95 (17.4%) children whose screen result was at risk. A rescreening phase was introduced during the study, with 68 children completing the rescreen at 4-6 weeks postinjury, and 26 (38.2% of those rescreened) still at risk. Of those initially screened, 29 (5.3%) completed diagnostic assessments, 21 (3.8%) were diagnosed with partial or full PTSD, and 17 (3.1%) commenced treatment. Screening was successful at identifying and reaching children with PTSD, but the response rate was lower than expected, which limited the utility of the program. The addition of a rescreening phase demonstrated that not all at-risk children required intervention. These findings replicate previous studies that have shown natural remission in PTSD symptoms and highlight the potential for rescreening as part of a watchful waiting approach.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)34-40
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


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