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Development and validation of the Child Post-Traumatic Cognitions Inventory (CPTCI)

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Background: 

Negative trauma-related cognitions have been found to be a significant factor in the maintenance of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults. Initial studies of such appraisals in trauma-exposed children and adolescents suggest that this is an important line of research in youth, yet empirically validated measures for use with younger populations are lacking. A measure of negative trauma-related cognitions for use with children and adolescents, the Child Post-Traumatic Cognitions Inventory (CPTCI), is presented. The measure was devised as an age-appropriate version of the adult Post-Traumatic Cognitions Inventory ( Foa et al., 1999). Methods: 

The CPTCI was developed and validated within a large (n = 570) sample, comprising community and trauma-exposed samples of children and adolescents aged 6–18 years. Results: 

Principal components analysis suggested a two-component structure. These components were labelled ‘permanent and disturbing change’ and ‘fragile person in a scary world’, and were each found to possess good internal consistency, test–retest reliability, convergent validity, and discriminative validity. The reliability and validity of these sub-scales was present regardless of whether the measure was completed in the acute phase or several months after a trauma. Scores on these sub-scales did not vary with age. Conclusions: 

The CPTCI is a reliable and valid measure that is not specific to the type of trauma exposure, and shows considerable promise as a research and clinical tool. The structure of this measure suggests that appraisals concerning the more abstract consequences of a trauma, as well as physical threat and vulnerability, are pertinent factors in trauma-exposed children and adolescents, even prepubescent children.
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Keywords: Post-traumatic stress disorder; adolescents; appraisals; children; cognition

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, UK 2: School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Australia 3: School of Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand 4: Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge. UK 5: School of Psychology, Flinders University, Australia

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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