Is it really so upsetting? Traumatized children’s reaction to screening and symptom assessment

Dos Santos, N. E., Jensen, T. K., & Ormhaug, S. M. (2016). Er det så ille å bli spurt om traumer? : barns opplevelser av traumekartlegging i BUP [Is it really so upsetting? Traumatized children’s reaction to screening and symptom assessment] Norwegian only. Tidsskrift for Norsk Psykologforening, 53(7), 536-545.

Researchers recommend trauma screening for retrieving information about trauma exposure. However, little is known about clients’ reactions to screening.

This article describes reactions to screening for trauma exposure and questions about trauma symptoms among 99 youths (10–18 years) referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Norway.

All had been exposed to one or more traumatic experiences and reported having significant posttraumatic stress symptoms. Results indicate that only 5 % reported high levels of distress, 14 % reported that the screening procedure was very boring, 4 % found the questions difficult and 32 % thought it was exciting to answer the questions.

High levels of PTS-symptoms predicted distress. The youth who found the questionnaire most boring were reluctant to repeat the screening procedure. The results do not support the assumed risk associated with trauma screening.