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Trafficked children are frequently exposed to multiple traumatic events, including during their recruitment, transit, and exploitation. It has been hypothesized that such exposures can lead to the development of Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Complex PTSD includes (in addition to the core PTSD symptoms of re-experiencing, avoidance, and hyperarousal) disturbances in affect regulation, dissociation, self-concept, interpersonal relationships, somatization, and systems of meaning. This historical cohort study aimed to investigate Complex PTSD in trafficked children with a diagnosis of PTSD and compare these with nontrafficked controls exposed to single or multiple trauma. Trafficked children were identified by keyword searches of the electronic health records of more than 250,000 mental health service users; a matched cohort of nontrafficked children was randomly selected. Regression models compared the number of Complex PTSD symptoms in trafficked children and non-trafficked children who had experienced multiple or single trauma. Fifty-one trafficked children were identified: eleven with a diagnosis of PTSD (22%). A high proportion of trafficked children with PTSD had Complex PTSD symptoms. Trafficked and non-trafficked children with PTSD who had been exposed to multiple trauma showed a greater number of Complex PTSD symptoms compared to nontrafficked children with PTSD exposed to single-event traumas. Somatic symptoms were noted for almost two-thirds of the trafficked children but only 10%-11% of the nontrafficked children. Child trafficking and multiple trauma exposure are associated with more complex posttraumatic presentations. A thorough clinical assessment at intake is crucial to ensure additional symptoms can be meaningfully incorporated into treatment plans.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Behavioral medicine (Washington, D.C.)
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The consequences of exposing the FETUS in utero to certain factors, such as NUTRITION PHYSIOLOGICAL PHENOMENA; PHYSIOLOGICAL STRESS; DRUGS; RADIATION; and other physical or chemical factors. These consequences are observed later in the offspring after BIRTH.
Unanticipated information discovered in the course of testing or medical care. Used in discussions of information that may have social or psychological consequences, such as when it is learned that a child's biological father is someone other than the putative father, or that a person tested for one disease or disorder has, or is at risk for, something else.
Stress wherein emotional factors predominate.
Treatment to improve one's health condition by using techniques that can reduce PHYSIOLOGICAL STRESS; PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS; or both.
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