Violent trauma among child and adolescent girls: Current knowledge and implications for clinicians
While the incidence and psychiatric correlates of violent trauma among children and adolescents have been well documented, there is less data on the specific ways in which girls are affected by violence. The present review examines current knowledge of the prevalence and effects of violent trauma on female children and adolescents. Domestic and community violence, sexual abuse and war trauma are included. Data on etiology and treatment are also reviewed. Current data indicate that violent trauma, particularly sexual victimization, is highly prevalent among child and adolescent girls. Furthermore, girls appear to be more vulnerable to post-traumatic stress reactions than boys. Some studies report that rates of post-traumatic stress disorder are six times higher in girls, possibly due to the sexual nature of girls' victimization. However, the nature of the exposure - distress relationship and the role of protective factors both bear further research. The implications of current findings for clinical practice are discussed, in order to facilitate optimal assessment and treatment of young female victims of violence. © 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.