Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Clinical Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Cameo Stanick

Commitee Members

James Caringi, Chris Fiore, David Schuldberg, Gyda Swaney, Rick van den Pol


childhood trauma, complex trauma, developmental trauma disorder, DTD, mesaure development, youth trauma exposure


The University of Montana


Childhood trauma research and assessment are limited in addressing complex trauma. Specifically, current childhood trauma exposure measures are limited in the types of trauma queried, the ability to assess for frequency of trauma incidents, and the possibility of reporting on symptoms from multiple traumas (Hawkins & Radcliffe, 2006). Another problem with current childhood trauma practices is related to diagnosis. Most children who experience complex trauma are not diagnosed with PTSD; separation anxiety disorder and oppositional defiant disorder are most commonly diagnosed (Cook et al., 2005). Emotional and behavioral difficulties associated with complex trauma in childhood may be better captured by symptoms of a proposed diagnosis, developmental trauma disorder (DTD; van der Kolk, 2005). This measure development study included testing of an improved childhood trauma exposure measure, the Stressful Events Questionnaire (SEQ), and a measure to assess for DTD symptoms, the Developmental Trauma Disorder Questionnaire (DTDQ) in a clinical child sample. Children exposed to a variety of trauma experiences were assessed utilizing the SEQ, which includes potentially traumatic experiences and assesses for frequency of incidents, as well as utilizing the DTDQ. Results provided preliminary support for the reliability and validity of the SEQ and DTDQ in a clinical child sample. Results also provided empirical support for a broadened PTSD criterion A and support for DTD criteria. This study has implications for the diagnosis and treatment of trauma experiences in youth.



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