Predicting posttraumatic stress reactions in children prior to traumatic exposure

Claudio D Ortiz, Florida International University


The present study examined the relations among previously identified risk and protective variables associated with traumatic exposure and evaluated a model of resilience to traumatic events among Latino youth prior to traumatic exposure using structural equation modeling. Model tests were pursued in the context of Full Information Maximum Likelihood (FIML) methods as implemented in Mplus. The model evaluated the role of the following variables: (a) intervening life events; (b) child characteristics; (c) social support from significant others; and (d) children's coping. Data were collected from 181 Latino youth (M age = 9.22, SD = 1.38; 49.0% female) participants. Data analyses revealed that children's perceived available social support and use of coping strategies predicted low state anxiety following exposure to cues of disaster. Life events and preexisting depression symptoms did not significantly predict social support and coping, whereas preexisting anxiety was a significant predictor of perceived social support. This study represents an important initial step towards establishing and empirically evaluating a resilience model. Implications for preparedness interventions and a framework for the etiology of resilient reactions to disaster exposure are discussed.

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Ortiz, Claudio D, "Predicting posttraumatic stress reactions in children prior to traumatic exposure" (2008). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3343273.