Theses Doctoral

A Comparative Analysis of the Children's Future Orientation Scale Ratings of Traumatized Urban Youth with and without Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Rialon, Rebecca A.

This study examined the future orientation, or attitudes about the future, of traumatized youth with and without Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) relative to the future orientation of a non-traumatized comparison group. Participants included youth between 6 and 17 years of age who were previously evaluated for a larger trauma study at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City. Youth presenting with major comorbid psychiatric disorders were excluded from participation. Child diagnostic interviews identified 30 youth with PTSD, 62 traumatized youth without PTSD, and 40 non-traumatized controls. Children and adolescents completed the Children's Future Orientation Scale, a multi-dimensional self-report measure assessing future thinking regarding having a family, social relationships, work, as well as general life outlook. Statistical analyses indicate that the total future orientation ratings of youth with PTSD were significantly lower than the aggregate ratings of traumatized youth without PTSD and non-traumatized controls. Youth with PTSD had substantially lower expectations about future social relations and more pessimistic general expectations about the future than controls. On the other hand, the traumatized groups did not significantly differ with regard to future socialization expectations. Moreover, traumatized youth without PTSD had considerably more negative future social expectations relative to the controls. Though these results offer preliminary support for the DSM-IV contention that PTSD is associated with negative expectations about the future, deficits in future orientation were not exclusive to diagnostic status and varied as a function of the type of future expectation. Future research should strive to compare youth with PTSD to youth with other psychiatric disorders in order to increase our understanding of future expectation across diagnostic categories and increase the external validity of empirical findings.



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More About This Work

Academic Units
School Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Saigh, Philip A.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 12, 2011