The psychological sequelae of violent injury in a pediatric intervention

Jonathan Purtle, Erica Harris, Rachel Compton, Rich Baccare, Ashley Morris, Danielle Dibartolo, Christine Campbell, Karen Vogel, Nadine Schwartz, Matthew Moront

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose Pediatric trauma centers have unique potential to prevent violent injury and its psychological sequelae. Hospital-based violence intervention programs (HVIPs) are proliferating across the U.S., but little is known about the psychological needs of pediatric patients who participate in them. The purpose of this study was to describe the prevalence of symptoms of posttraumatic stress and exposure to community violence among pediatric HVIP participants.

Methods We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of psychosocial needs assessment data that were collected for 48 participants. The Child Trauma Screening Questionnaire (CTSQ) and modified Survey of Children's Exposure to Community Violence were used to assess primary outcomes.

Results The sample was 62.5% male and had a mean age of 14.5 years. Twenty-three percent reported previously sustaining a violent injury resulting in medical care, and 47.8% had witnessed a shooting. The majority (66.0%) had a CTSQ score at/above the threshold for probable PTSD diagnosis. The mean CTSQ score was 5.9 and hyperarousal (3.3) symptoms were more common than re-experiencing symptoms (2.6).

Conclusion Pediatric HVIPs and trauma centers should consider integrating PTSD screening and trauma-focused psychoeducation into the practice and protocols. Future research should evaluate the impacts of these interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1668-1672
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Exposure to community violence
  • Hospital-based violence intervention programs
  • Posttraumatic stress
  • Violent injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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