A test of adolescent internalizing and externalizing symptoms as prospective predictors of type of trauma exposure and posttraumatic stress disorder

Moira Haller, Laurie Chassin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study utilized longitudinal data from a high-risk community sample (N = 377; 166 trauma-exposed; 202 males; 175 females; 73% non-Hispanic Caucasian) to test pretrauma measures of adolescent internalizing and externalizing symptoms as unique prospective predictors of type of trauma exposure and PTSD over and above the influence of correlated family adversity (a composite of family conflict, stress, and parental psychopathology). Data were analyzed with logistic and multinomial logistic regressions. Results indicated that females, but not males, with higher levels of internalizing (OR = 2.91) and externalizing (OR = 2.37) symptoms during adolescence were significantly more likely to be exposed to assaultive violence (over and above family adversity). In fact, males with higher levels of internalizing symptoms were significantly less likely to be exposed to assaultive violence (OR = 0.54). Neither internalizing nor externalizing symptoms uniquely predicted exposure to traumatic events that did not involve assaultive violence. Among trauma-exposed participants, the unique association between internalizing symptoms and later PTSD yielded an odds ratio of 1.79 (p = .07) over and above the influences of family adversity, type of trauma exposure, and gender. Assaultive violence exposure fully mediated the association between females' externalizing symptoms and future PTSD. Findings may help inform the prevention of both assaultive violence exposure and PTSD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-699
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Volume25
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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