Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type





Educational and Counseling Psych

First Advisor

H. Thompson Prout


Unfortunately, one rite of passage of childhood is often serious injury that carries psychological impact along with the obvious physical repercussions. Prior studies have found conflicting results for protective/risk factors, thus this study attempted to explore PTSD in a sample of children ages seven to thirteen years of age with moderate to severe injuries. In this study (N = 32), 31.3% of children experiencing such a sudden injury requiring hospitalization at the University of Kentucky Childrens Hospital demonstrated significant indications of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the injury. Several pre, peri, and post-trauma variables from during the childs hospitalization to the follow-up period four to five weeks later were correlated with this outcome including age, ethnicity, acute stress disorder (ASD) with or without dissociation criteria being met, prior medical experience, parents score on the BSI-18 while the child is still in this hospital, chronic illness status, gender, number of coping strategies reported by the child while in the hospital, the number of negative coping strategies reported, the amount of pain reported, and several follow-up variables (parents BSI-18 score, number of coping strategies reported, number of negative and positive coping strategies reported, injury threat, and total number of impairments reported by the child and by the parent). Negative coping did not significantly change from the in-hospital period to the follow-up period. Surprisingly, the STEPP, a current screener described and supported by some past research, was not successful in identifying these at-risk children; however, a new screening prototype was developed including age, acute stress disorder (ASD), and pain that did successfully predict 80% of those with PTSD and 85% of those without later PTSD. A follow-up screener consisting solely of parental items (parental symptoms on the BSI-18 and parental rating of child impairments) was also created and found to sensitively predict 90% of those children with PTSD. Implications from these findings along with study strengths and weaknesses were highlighted.