Do adolescent offspring of women with PTSD experience higher levels of chronic and episodic stress?

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Abstract

Offspring of mothers with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are at higher risk for a range of negative developmental outcomes, including differing forms of psychopathology. This study suggests that the multigenerational impact of trauma may be partially attributed to increased levels of stress experienced by these offspring during childhood and adolescence. Diagnostic interviews were conducted with over 800 women and their offspring. Experiences of stress were assessed using multiple measures. Results indicate that offspring of mothers with PTSD or high levels of PTSD symptoms experienced higher levels of lifetime exposure to major stress, η2 = .02, current chronic stress due to family relations, η2 = .01, and a higher level of objectively rated recent episodic life stress, η2 = .01, compared to offspring of women without PTSD. These findings remained significant after controlling for maternal history of depression. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. 00:1–10, 2003; Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI 10.1002/.20652

Traditional and Simplified Chinese Abstracts by AsianSTSS

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