Early childhood behavior trajectories and the likelihood of experiencing a traumatic event and PTSD by young adulthood

Carla L. Storr, Cindy M. Schaeffer, Hanno Petras, Nicholas S. Ialongo, Naomi Breslau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study modeled children's trajectories of teacher rated aggressive-disruptive behavior problems assessed at six time points between the ages of 6 and 11 and explored the likelihood of being exposed to DSM-IV qualifying traumatic events and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 837 urban first graders (71% African American) followed-up for 15 years. Childhood trajectories of chronic high or increasing aggressive-disruptive behavior distinguished males more likely to be exposed to an assaultive violence event as compared to males with a constant course of low behavior problems (ORchronic high = 2.8, 95% CI = 1.3, 6.1 and ORincreasing = 4.5, 95% CI = 2.3, 9.1, respectively). Among females, exposure to traumatic events and vulnerability to PTSD did not vary by behavioral trajectory. The findings illustrate that repeated assessments of disruptive classroom behavior during early school years identifies more fully males at increased risk for PTSD-level traumatic events, than a single measure at school entry does.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-406
Number of pages9
JournalSocial psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 14 2009



  • Child development
  • Childhood antecedents
  • Growth trajectories
  • PTSD
  • Traumatic events

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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