Demographic and psychological concomitants of ASD and PTSD: An analysis of children after traffic injury

Mindy Rebecca Feinberg, University of Pennsylvania


The study examined the prevalence of Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in 5- to 7-year-old children. Factors related to the development of PTSD were examined. A secondary analysis was conducted on children hospitalized for injuries sustained in traffic-related incidents. Parents and children (dyads of one index child and one parent, N = 75) were assessed for ASD within 1 month post injury, and for PTSD 3–7 months post injury. Parent reports indicated that 1.3% of their children met diagnostic criteria for ASD, 21.3% for sub-clinical ASD (ASR), 2.7% for PTSD, and 6.7% for sub-clinical PTSD (PTSS). Child self-reports indicated that 5.3% met criteria for ASD, 25.3% for ASR, 1.3% for PTSD, and 6.7% for PTSS. Rates of ASD and PTSD were lower than expected; rates of ASR and PTSS were closer to prior findings. Potential correlates and predictor variables were grouped into trauma-related, individual, or contextual factors. Correlational analyses of these factors with symptoms of PTSD identified the six most salient variables that were analyzed using hierarchical linear regressions for parent report of child's PTSD and for the child's self-report. The theoretical model posited in this study was not fully supported. Predictors of PTSD according to children's self-report were ASD severity (individual factor) and severity of exposure (trauma-related factor). Using parental report of the children's PTSD, ASD severity (individual factor), physical recovery, and parental stress (contextual factors) were most predictive. The results of this study are highly relevant to pediatric care and will improve practitioners' ability to identify children at-risk for ASD and PTSD. Future research directions and relevant interventions are discussed.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Public health

Recommended Citation

Feinberg, Mindy Rebecca, "Demographic and psychological concomitants of ASD and PTSD: An analysis of children after traffic injury" (2004). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3125815.