Does Acute Stress Disorder Predict Subsequent Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Pediatric Burn Survivors?

Objective: This study examined the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in pediatric burn survivors who had been treated for acute stress disorder (ASD) symptoms during their initial hospitalization and compared them to patients who had been asymptomatic for ASD symptoms.

Method: Participants were identified from electronic medical records from 1995 to 2008 and data were collected from 2006 to 2008. Participants were primarily matched on total body surface area burned and gender, and as close as possible on age at time of burn and number of years postburn. Pediatric burn survivors completed a semistructured clinical interview, the Missouri Assessment of Genetics Interview for Children-PTSD section, which is based on criteria from the DSM-IV for evaluating lifetime PTSD.

Results: There were 183 participants in the study, and from this sample 85 matched pairs were identified. Most were 5 years postburn. The prevalence of PTSD at the time of follow-up was 8.24% (7 of 85) for the ASD group and 4.71% (4 of 85) for the non-ASD comparison group. No significant differences were found between these groups at P value .05. A logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine if prior ASD diagnosis, burn size, gender, ethnicity, age at time of study participation, and number of years postburn predicted subsequent PTSD. None of the variables were significant predictors.

Conclusions: The prevalence of PTSD was similar in children who had ASD symptoms and those without ASD symptoms. The lifetime prevalence of PTSD was lower than reported in other studies. A possible explanation for this finding is that children received timely pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy during their acute hospitalization.

J Clin Psychiatry 2015;76(11):1564–1568

https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.14m09365