We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
JAMA Pediatrics Patient Page |

Posttraumatic Stress in Children FREE

Megan A. Moreno, MD, MSEd, MPH
JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(12):1176. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4238.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Injuries are extremely common in childhood. In the United States, more than 20 million children experience unintentional injuries each year such as through falls and motor vehicle crashes. Furthermore, more than 200 000 children and adolescents each year are injured by violence.

It is common for parents and children to experience posttraumatic stress after a traumatic injury. Most children and parents report at least 1 severe traumatic stress reaction in the first month after a significant injury, and some have it after even a seemingly minor traffic accident without serious injury. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network defines “pediatric medical traumatic stress” as a set of mental and physical responses of children and their families to pain, injury, serious illness, medical procedures, and painful or frightening treatment experiences. About 19% of injured children develop significant posttraumatic stress symptoms that interfere with their functioning and healing after the injury.

Symptoms of posttraumatic stress include:

  1. Repeating thoughts about the injury.

  2. Avoiding reminders of the injury, which may include avoiding people, feelings, or activities.

  3. Increased arousal, which may include having an exaggerated startle response (ie, jumping in response to a loud noise) or experiencing difficulty in concentrating.

  4. Changes in mood.

Consequences of posttraumatic stress may be disabling and include reduced quality of life, increased use of health care services, or difficulty in staying in school. Several treatment approaches for posttraumatic stress exist and have been shown to be effective. These include promoting strategies that help with coping, safe exposure to trauma-related triggers, and building skills in handling the distress that is felt. In many cases, it is helpful for both parents and children to work together on developing coping skills.

If you are worried that you or your child has symptoms of posttraumatic stress, talk with your pediatrician or physician. This month’s JAMA Pediatrics included a review article that summarizes the current research and evidence on how best to recognize and treat posttraumatic stress.

Box Section Ref ID

For More Information

National Child Traumatic Stress Network: http://www.nctsn.org


The JAMA Pediatrics Patient Page is a public service of JAMA Pediatrics. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your child’s medical condition, JAMA Pediatrics suggests that you consult your child’s physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. To purchase bulk reprints, call 312/464-0776.

Resource: National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Correction: This article was corrected online January 14, 2014, for a typographical error in the Acknowledgment section.




Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

See Also...
Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections

The Rational Clinical Examination: Evidence-Based Clinical Diagnosis

The Rational Clinical Examination: Evidence-Based Clinical Diagnosis
Pretest Probabilities and Likelihood Ratios for Clinical Findings