Secondary analysis of a cross-sectional survey was conducted and revealed that all adolescents in this sample endorsed at least one stressful event in their lifetime with an average of 7 lifetime events, including illness, death, and indirect and direct violence exposure.
Exactly half of the sample reported PTSD symptoms in the clinical range with re-experiencing and arousal symptoms the most commonly endorsed.
Adolescents reported both open and problem family communication with higher open family communication scale scores than problem family communication.
Bivariate relationships showed that:
- open family communication was negatively associated to PTSD symptom severity,
- the number of lifetime stressful events and problem family communication was positively associated to PTSD symptom severity
- integrated family storytelling style was negatively associated to avoidance symptoms.
Testing for potential moderation effects of family communication found no interaction terms significant in this sample.
Implications and directions for future research are discussed, including the importance of reducing problem family communication in order for the protective effects of open family communication to flourish and the potential benefits of PTSD screening in schools.