Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Post-traumatic stress disorder in children-Diagnosis, Post-traumatic stress disorder in children-Etiology, Post-traumatic stress disorder in adolescence-Diagnosis, Post-traumatic stress disorder in adolescence-Etiology, Developmental trauma disorder, Complex childhood trauma, DSM-V, Clinical utility


In this study licensed mental health clinicians working with traumatized children and adolescents participated in a mixed method web survey examining professional opinions on the provisional Developmental Trauma Disorder diagnosis submitted for inclusion in the DSM-V. It was found that 88.3% of participating clinicians agreed that the diagnostic criteria for Developmental Trauma Disorder adequately described the symptomatology displayed by their clients with histories of complex trauma. Eighty-six percent of clinicians reported that they would assign their clients a diagnosis of DTD were it available in the current DSM-IV, and 75.5% of those clinicians said they would use DTD in place of one or more of the client's current diagnoses. Interestingly it was also found that symptoms described exclusively by DTD were among the most commonly reported symptoms for chronically traumatized clients. Affect dysregulation, impulsivity, anxious mood, lack of focus and attention, social and relational impairments, physical aggression, and hyperarousal and hypervigilance are all crucial aspects of DTD's diagnostic criteria and were most frequently observed in the traumatized client sample. The results of this study imply that DTD may in fact describe the symptomatology presented by chronically traumatized children and adolescents and may serve as a potentially useful assessment tool in the field of childhood trauma. The inclusion of Developmental Trauma Disorder in the DSM-V is supported by this study's clinical sample and has the potential to lead to more effective treatment interventions and outcomes with this population.




iv, 58 p. : col. ill. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2010. Includes bibliographical references (p. 37-40)