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Current Psychiatry Reviews


ISSN (Print): 1573-4005
ISSN (Online): 1875-6441

Traumatic Event Exposure, Posttraumatic Stress, and Substance Use Among Youth: A Critical Review of the Empirical Literature

Author(s): Heidemarie Blumenthal, Leslie Blanchard, Matthew T. Feldner, Kimberly A. Babson, Ellen W. Leen-Feldner and Laura Dixon

Volume 4 , Issue 4 , 2008

Page: [228 - 254] Pages: 27

DOI: 10.2174/157340008786576562

Price: $65


Traumatic event exposure and subsequent posttraumatic stress have been linked to increased use of various substances among adults. Relatively less is known about this linkage among youth, despite high rates of traumatic event exposure and substance use within this population. To address this gap, the current review presents a detailed summary and critical analysis of the empirical literature focused on the co-occurrence of traumatic event exposure, posttraumatic stress, and substance use among youth. The evidence suggests that multiple types of substance use are highly related to exposure to a traumatic event and posttraumatic stress reactions among youth. Relatively little is known about the directionality or specificity of this relation, and additional research on factors that affect or account for this association is needed. Critical challenges of this literature, as well as specific recommendations for future research, are discussed.

Keywords: Trauma, PTSD, substance use, youth

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