PTSD in Children and Teens
This fact sheet provides an overview of how trauma affects school-aged children and teens. You will also find information on treatments for PTSD in children. To learn about PTSD in very young children, please see our fact sheet Very Young Trauma Survivors: The Role of Attachment.
What events cause PTSD in children?
Children and teens could have PTSD if they have lived through an event that could have caused them or someone else to be killed or badly hurt. Such events include sexual or physical abuse or other violent crimes. Disasters such as floods, school shootings, car crashes, or fires might also cause PTSD. Other events that can cause PTSD are war, a friend’s suicide, or seeing violence in the area they live.
Child protection services in the U.S. get around three million reports each year. This involves 5.5 million children. Of the reported cases, there is proof of abuse in about 30%. From these cases, we have an idea how often different types of abuse occur:
- 65% neglect
- 18% physical abuse
- 10% sexual abuse
- 7% psychological (mental) abuse
Also, three to ten million children witness family violence each year. Around 40% to 60% of those cases involve child physical abuse. (Note: It is thought that two-thirds of child abuse cases are not reported.)