Post-Traumatic Syndromes in Childhood and Adolescence: A Handbook of Research and Practice

By Vittoria Ardino | Go to book overview

Chapter Twenty-Two
Future Directions in Conceptualizing
Complex Post-Traumatic Stress
Syndromes in Childhood and
Adolescence: Toward a Developmental
Trauma Disorder Diagnosis

Julian D. Ford


Introduction

The final chapter of the book is dedicated to the future directions of child trauma research and interventions with a focus upon an understanding of diagnosis of complex trauma toward a diagnosis of developmental trauma disorder.

Developmentally adverse interpersonal traumas (e.g., sexual, physical or emotional abuse, loss of or abandonment by caregiver(s), chronic and severe neglect, domestic violence, or death or gruesome injuries due to community violence, terrorism or war) derail psychological development in periods (e.g., infancy or adolescence) during which foundational self-regulatory capacities are being acquired or consolidated (Ford, 2005). Therefore, complex variants of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in childhood and adolescence involve not only problems with anxiety and arousal modulation, but also with the self-regulation of bodily processes, emotion, information-processing, impulse control and goal-directed behavior, and relational involvement. These are the capacities that shape and come to constitute the developing self and personality, and their disruption or distortion thus can lead to pervasive and persistent psychobiological impairments that may appear to be the symptoms of many severe disorders of childhood and adolescence (e.g., bipolar, conduct, addictive, dissociative, and psychotic disorders) as well as chronic forms of those disor-

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