Screening for trauma in children and adolescents: The validity of the trumatic stress disorder scale of the screen for child anxiety related emotional disorders

P.E.H.M. Muris*, H.L.G.J. Merckelbach, C.M.G. Meesters

*Corresponding author for this work

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Examined the validity of the Traumatic Stress Disoder scale of the Screen for Child Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders (SCARED), a recently developed self-report questionnaire measuring Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed. [DSM-IV]; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) defined anxiety, disorders symptoms in children. A large sample of normal schoolchildren (N = 996) ages 7 to 19 years completed the SCARED. Children who scored high on the SCARED Traumatic Stress Disorder scale (i.e., trauma group: n = 43) and children who scored low on this scale (i.e., control group; n = 43) were their interviewed about their most aversive life event. In addition, children completed self-report questionnaires of traumatic experiences and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology. Results showed that children in the trauma group more frequently, reported life events that independent judges considered to be 'potentially traumatic' than did control children. Furthermore, children in the trauma group reported having experienced more traumatic incidents and had higher scores on PTSD-related questionnaires compared with control children. Moreover, trauma group children more frequently fulfilled DSM-IV criteria for PTSD than did control children. The results of this study support the validity of the Traumatic Stress Disorder scale of the SCARED.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-413
JournalJournal of Clinical Child Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000

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