The prevalence, latent structure and psychosocial and cognitive correlates of complex post-traumatic stress disorder in an adolescent community sample

Henry Tak Shing Chiu, Alice Alberici, Jade Claxton, Richard Meiser-Stedman

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Complex PTSD has received growing attention in recent years. However, the validity, prevalence and risk factors of this diagnosis remain unclear. This study examined PTSD presentations in adolescents using diagnostic criteria and latent class analysis (LCA). It then explored the role of demographics factors, trauma history factors, psychopathology factors and cognitive factors in predicting different PTSD presentations. A cross-sectional data comprising self-report measures of 342 community adolescents (12–15 years) were collected and analysed. 2.3 %, 5.6 % and 10 % of adolescents met the criteria for PTSD, CPTSD and disturbances in self-organisation (DSO) respectively. A three-class model (healthy class, CPTSD class and DSO class) were generated from LCA. Adolescents with CPTSD were most likely to be female and endorsed the most overall trauma types, interpersonal trauma types, depression, anxiety and maladaptive cognitive processes, followed by adolescents with DSO and subsequently healthy adolescents. CPTSD appeared to be a more common presentation than PTSD among community adolescents. The relatively high prevalence of DSO is noteworthy and suggests that DSO is not necessarily accompanied by PTSD. Given the strong associations between CPTSD and cognitive processes implicated in PTSD, CPTSD as a construct might be conceptually similar to PTSD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-489
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Early online date12 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023


  • Adolescent psychology
  • Cognitive behaviour therapy
  • Complex post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Epidemiology
  • Latent class analysis
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

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