Inconsistent trauma reporting is associated with emotional and behavioural problems and psychotic experiences in young people [2020]

Background
Little is known about the prevalence of inconsistent trauma reporting in community samples and about its associations with psychopathology. This study aimed to assess for the first time the prevalence of inconsistent trauma reporting in a community sample of children/adolescents and to explore associations with both psychotic experiences and with psychopathology more generally.

Method
A community-based sample of 86 children/adolescents (baseline mean age 11.5) were interviewed at two time points with data collected in relation to potentially traumatic events through the K-SADS. Emotional and behavioural problems were assessed at follow-up (mean age 15.7) through the Youth Self Report questionnaire while the presence of psychotic experiences was based on expert consensus post interview. Logistic regression models were used to test associations between inconsistent reporting and psychotic experiences at baseline and follow-up, with associations with emotional and behavioral problems at follow-up also assessed.

Results
Overall, 16.3% of adolescents failed to report previously reported potentially traumatic events at follow-up and were therefore defined as inconsistent trauma reporters. Inconsistent reporting was associated with emotional and behavioural problems as assessed by the Youth Self Report with the exception of rule breaking behaviour and with psychotic experiences as assessed on interview.

Conclusions
Inconsistent trauma reporting is associated with psychotic experiences and emotional and behavioural problems in young people and may represent an important marker for psychopathology in youth.

Annette Burns, Helen Coughlan & Mary Cannon
BMC Psychiatry, volume 20, Article number: 38 (2020)
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