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Posttraumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents Exposed to Family Violence

Posttraumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents Exposed to Family Violence

Abstract

Exposure to child physical abuse and parents' domestic violence can subject youth to pervasive traumatic stress and can lead to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This article presents evolving conceptualizations in the burgeoning field of trauma related to family violence exposure and describes how the often repeating and ongoing nature of family violence exposure can complicate a PTSD diagnosis. In addition, recent literature indicates that children exposed to family violence may experience problems in multiple domains of functioning and may meet criteria for multiple disorders in addition to PTSD. Considerations salient to the recognition of traumatic stress in this population and that inform assessment and treatment planning are presented.
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