The researchers surveyed 24 respondents who were victims of gunshot, stab, or assault wounds as children between the years of 2011 and 2020. Of the participants, 15 suffered a gunshot wound, eight suffered a stab wound, and one was assaulted.

Respondents were primarily teenagers at the time of injury, with a median age of 16.6 years. An average of six years had passed from the initial injury to the time respondents were contacted for the study.

Of these respondents, 10 (41.7%) screened positive for probable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), significantly higher than the 6.8% of the general population that is typically diagnosed with PTSD. Patients who screened positive reported at least three of the following five traits:

  • Nightmares or intrusive thoughts
  • Avoiding thinking about or being in situations that remind them of the event(s)
  • Constantly feeling on-guard, watchful, or startled
  • Feeling numbness or detachment to people, activities, or surroundings
  • Feeling guilt or blaming yourself or others for the event or problems from the event

In addition, 46% of respondents reported substance abuse in the past 30 days (other than alcohol or prescription medications) compared to approximately 13% of the general population, while nearly 17% reported persistent symptoms related to their injury.

These lasting physical and mental effects emphasize the need for hospitals, community organizations, and social support networks to work together to help monitor these patients long-term, according to lead author Nicole A. Wilson, assistant professor in the departments of surgery, pediatrics, and biomedical engineering at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Read the full article about post-traumatic stress disorder by Scot Hesel at Futurity.