Original Research

Treatment utilisation and trauma characteristics of child and adolescent inpatients with posttraumatic stress disorder

A. Traut, D. Kaminer, D. Boshoff, S. Seedat, S. Hawkridge, D.J. Stein
Curationis | Vol 25, No 4 | a809 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v25i4.809 | © 2002 A. Traut, D. Kaminer, D. Boshoff, S. Seedat, S. Hawkridge, D.J. Stein | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 September 2002 | Published: 28 September 2002

About the author(s)

A. Traut, Department of Psychiatry, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
D. Kaminer, Department of Psychiatry, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
D. Boshoff, Department of Psychiatry, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
S. Seedat, Department of Psychiatry, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
S. Hawkridge, Department of Psychiatry, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
D.J. Stein, Department of Psychiatry, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

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Abstract

Objective. Few empirical studies have addressed the impact of trauma exposure and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on treatment utilisation and outcome in South African youth. This study was undertaken to document demographic, clinical, and treatment characteristics of child and adolescent inpatients with PTSD.
Design. A retrospective chart study of all patients presenting to a child and adolescent inpatient unit was conducted between 1994-1996. For children and adolescents diagnosed with PTSD; demographic, diagnostic and treatment variables, including trauma type, family history, and delays in treatment seeking, were documented.
Setting. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Inpatient Unit, Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town.
Subjects. Children and adolescents (2 to 18 years) presenting to an inpatient unit (n=737).
Results. 10.3% (n=76) met diagnostic criteria for PTSD. Gender differences were clearly evident: PTSD was six times more prevalent in girls (65 with PTSD were female and 11 were male); girls were most likely to have experienced rape or sexual abuse while boys were most likely to have witnessed a killing. Psychotherapy was the most common intervention for PTSD, followed by treatment with a tricyclic antidepressant. 97.4% of children and adolescents who were treated demonstrated significant improvement. Delays in seeking treatment and problems with the primary support group were highly prevalent.
Conclusion. PTSD is a common disorder that is responsive to treatment with psychotherapy and/or tricyclic antidepressants in child and adolescent inpatients. These findings underscore the importance of early identification and treatment of childhood PTSD in mental health settings, in particular tertiary service institutions.

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Crossref Citations

1. Caregiver Responses to Child Posttraumatic Distress: A Qualitative Study in a High-Risk Context in South Africa
Victoria Williamson, Ian Butler, Mark Tomlinson, Sarah Skeen, Hope Christie, Jackie Stewart, Sarah L Halligan
Journal of Traumatic Stress  vol: 30  issue: 5  first page: 482  year: 2017  
doi: 10.1002/jts.22215