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June 14, 1995

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Exposure to Violence in Adolescents

Author Affiliations

Albert Einstein College of Medicine Bronx, NY

JAMA. 1995;273(22):1734. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520460016008

To the Editor.  —In the article by Dr Singer and colleagues,1 we applaud the demonstration of a link between adolescents' exposure to violence and trauma symptoms, calling much-needed attention to a neglected public health problem. Using a self-report symptom checklist, the study by Singer et al identifies a range of trauma symptoms, but does not evaluate whether or not adolescents exposed to violence meet diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other psychiatric conditions. In our Adolescent Depression and Suicide Program, we have preliminary data on the rates of mood disorders and PTSD due to violence exposure based on structured interviews (the Structured Diagnostic Interview for DSM-III-R2 and the PTSD Symptom Scale—Interview Version3). Our population consists of inner-city youths, predominantly of Hispanic and African-American ethnicity, 12 to 19 years of age, presenting to an outpatient psychiatric clinic. We report herein data from 34 adolescent subjects.Consistent

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