A risk assessment tool to predict sustained PTSD symptoms among women reporting abuse




Symes, Lene
Maddoux, John
McFarlane, Judith M.
Pennings, Jacquelyn

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Mary Ann Liebert


Background: Nationally and worldwide, 30% or more of women are likely to have experienced intimate partner violence. Maternal mental health symptoms predict child function. When mothers have sustained posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), their children at are risk for growth and developmental delays and poor behavioral outcomes that may adversely affect the course of their lives. While many who experience trauma will recover without intervention, a significant proportion will experience PTSD, with negative consequences for their personal lives and the lives of their families. Early identification of those at high risk for PTSD symptoms will support early interventions to prevent PTSD and its negative consequences.

Methods: This paper describes the development of a tool that can predict PTSD symptoms at 8 months in mothers who are primarily of low socioeconomic status and primarily members of underrepresented groups. The tool consists of four key measures.

Conclusions: Using this tool to identify mothers at high risk for sustained PTSD and entering them into early intervention programs may protect mothers and their children from negative outcomes and promote their health and wellbeing.


This article was published with the assistance of the Texas Woman's University Libraries Open Access Fund.


Intimate partner violence, Risk factors, Stress disorders


This is the publisher’s version of an article that is available at https://doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2015.5287. Recommended citation: Symes, L., Maddoux, J., McFarlane, J., & Pennings, J. (2016). A risk assessment tool to predict sustained PTSD symptoms among women reporting abuse. Journal of Women's Health, 25(4), 340–347. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.