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Abstract

Initial research supports the use of propranolol to prevent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); research has not examined pharmacological prevention for children. Twenty-nine injury patients (ages 10–18 years old) at risk for PTSD were randomized to a double-blind 10-day trial of propranolol or placebo initiated within 12 hours postadmission. Six-week PTSD symptoms and heart rate were assessed. Although intent-to-treat analyses revealed no group differences, findings supported a significant interaction between gender and treatment in medication-adherent participants, ΔR2 = .21. Whereas girls receiving propranolol reported more PTSD symptoms relative to girls receiving placebo, ΔR2 = .44, boys receiving propranolol showed a nonsignificant trend toward fewer PTSD symptoms than boys receiving placebo, ΔR2 = .32. Findings inform gender differences regarding pharmacological PTSD prevention in youth.