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New diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were introduced by DSM-5 and ICD-11. It remains unclear how well these new definitions of PTSD capture the posttrauma responses of children, particularly when using parent report. This study compared different conceptual models of PTSD in children following the Boston Marathon bombing and manhunt. Parents/caretakers (Nā€‰=ā€‰254) reported on PTSD symptoms of their children (ages 4-11) following the Boston Marathon bombing and manhunt. Algorithms compared criteria from ICD-11, DSM-IV, and DSM-5 (specifically the "Preschool" criteria). DSM-5 Preschool criteria identified twice as many children as ICD-11, and over four times as many as DSM-IV. DSM-5 Preschool criteria identified all cases detected by ICD-11 and DSM-IV. Across models, all identified cases had greater trauma exposure than non-identified children. DSM-5 Preschool and ICD-11 (but not DSM-IV) cases had greater clinical decline than non-identified children. The Avoidance cluster showed the most variability in identifying cases. Newer models of PTSD are likely to identify more children than DSM-IV, mostly related to changes in the Avoidance criteria. The DSM-5 Preschool definition is the most inclusive model. ICD-11 may provide a balance between inclusivity and stringency in detecting childhood PTSD.


BreAnne A Danzi, Annette M La Greca, Jennifer Greif Green, Jonathan S Comer. What's in a name? Comparing alternative conceptualizations of posttraumatic stress disorder among preadolescent children following the Boston Marathon bombing and manhunt. Anxiety, stress, and coping. 2021 Sep;34(5):545-558

PMID: 33661034

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