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Abstract

The authors examined the association between disaster-related traumatic experiences and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in 155 youth, aged 8–18 years, from the Lower Eyre Peninsula of South Australia who were affected by January 2005 bushfires. Youth completed measures of PTSD symptoms and disaster experiences 11–5 months postdisaster. Many youth (27%) reported moderate to severe levels of PTSD symptoms; younger children reported greater PTSD symptom severity than older youth. Perceived personal life threat and ongoing loss/disruption were related to greater PTSD symptomatology. Following disasters, it may be helpful to identify young children and youth who perceived that their life was threatened and experienced more ongoing life disruption, as these youth may be at higher risk for persistent PTSD symptoms.