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Relationship Between Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms, Risk For Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms, And Pain In Children After Unintentional Injury
*Anna Monica Agoston, Amina Bhatia, John Bleacher, Karen Hill, Maia Routly
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA

Background (issue): Around 20% of children demonstrate persistent posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) after unintentional injury, with more severe pain intensity predicting concurrent and later PTSS (Hildebrand et al., 2018). Considering screening tools predicting future PTSS have had mixed results (Kassam-Adams et al., 2015), we examine relationships between one such tool and concurrent/later PTSS, as well as the predictive value of highest pain during hospitalization.
Methods: During hospitalization, 32 children (mean age: 12.82, SD: 2.41, 19 boys, 13 girls) were administered the Child PTSD Symptom Scale (CPSS-5; Foa et al., 2018) to assess PTSS and the Screening Tool for Predictors of PTSD (STEPP; Winston et al., 2003) to assess risk for future PTSS. The highest pain score reported during hospitalization was also collected. In a separate sample, 67 children (mean age: 13.05, SD: 2.39, 44 boys, 23 girls) were administered similar measures but the CPSS-5 was administered roughly a month after hospitalization.
Findings: Correlations between STEPP and concurrent CPSS-5 were significant (r =.51, p = .003) and STEPP predicted future CPSS (=.49, t=3.79, p < .001). Correlations between highest pain score and concurrent CPSS-5 were nonsignificant (r = -.05, ns) but highest pain score predicted future CPSS (=.39, t=2.91, p < .001).
Conclusions (implications for practice): Our results are in line with literature demonstrating STEPP as a useful predictor of PTSS. We also demonstrate that highest pain scores during hospitalization are correlated with future PTSS and may be a useful target of intervention to prevent negative outcomes such as PTSS after unintentional injury.


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