Exposure to trauma is a common event in the lives of children and adolescents living in the United States. Although a minority of youth develop full posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a traumatic event, those who do tend to have an extended course of symptoms in multiple functional domains and higher rates of psychiatric comorbidities. Pediatric PTSD can play an important role in legal settings, and requires that an expert witness be well versed in advances in clinical and conceptual models of this diagnosis and familiar with current research devoted to the posttraumatic response in youth. This review is designed to be a resource for the forensic evaluator and outlines the current understanding of epidemiological and clinical features of pediatric PTSD, as well as the neurobiological, dimensional, and developmental conceptual models that describe it.
Frank K. Tedeschi and Stephen B. Billick
Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online, June 2017, 45 (2)