Profound loss in childhood as a precipitant for symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder has been a largely neglected subject. There is now some literature to suggest that severe loss and the absence of care may be as predictive of psychological distress in children as events that are more frequently studied, such as exposure to natural disasters and physical or sexual abuse. This paper combines the author's personal experience as an orphaned child who was placed in foster care with a discussion of this emerging literature to examine the relationship between childhood loss and trauma symptoms. An awareness of the traumatic nature of severe losses in childhood could help caregivers and mental health professionals deal more effectively with such children.
Psychiatric Quarterly – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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