Childhood trauma is a growing mental health and public health concern. In the United States, the average proportion of children experiencing trauma is one in four. Approximately 20% of these children will later develop symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. This entry briefly introduces trauma and discusses trauma as it relates to children from birth to 16 years of age. It is important to note that children 6 years and under display different symptoms post-trauma than other age-groups.

Defining Trauma

Trauma refers to a single incident or set of incidents that are extremely stressful, threaten life, or eradicate one’s sense of safety and security. What qualifies as a traumatic experience is subjective based on an individual’s emotional experience and response to the event; among these are sexual trauma, ...

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