Different Causes of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome

A vast range of human experiences can trigger Acute Stress Syndrome or Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Below is a list of several categories of trauma, although many more trauma types exist. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after a highly stressful, terrifying or distressing event, or after prolonged traumatic exposure. 

  • War
  • Imprisonment, Kidnapping or Being Held Hostage
  • Terrorism
  • Mass Violence / Mass Shootings
  • Domestic Violence & Intimate Partner Violence
  • Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Community Violence
  • Sexual Abuse, Rape & Assault
  • Crime Survivors
  • Accidents
  • Medical Trauma
  • Diagnosis of a Life-Threatening or Serious Illness
  • Traumatic Childbirth
  • Traumatic Death of Family Member or Friend
  • Exposure to Traumatic Death
  • Witness and Exposure to Suicide
  • Stalking Victims
  • Disasters
  • Severe Bullying / Online Bullying or Cyber-Stalking

Children & PTSD

What events cause PTSD in children?

Children and teens could have PTSD if they have lived through an event that could have caused them or someone else to be killed or badly hurt. Such events include sexual or physical abuse or other violent crimes. Disasters such as floods, school shootings, car crashes, or fires might also cause PTSD. Other events that can cause PTSD are war, a friend’s suicide, or seeing violence in the area they live.

Child protection services in the U.S. get around three million reports each year. This involves 5.5 million children. Of the reported cases, there is proof of abuse in about 30%. From these cases, we have an idea how often different types of abuse occur:

65% neglect
18% physical abuse
10% sexual abuse
7% psychological (mental) abuse

Also, three to ten million children witness family violence each year. Around 40% to 60% of those cases involve child physical abuse. (Note: It is thought that two-thirds of child abuse cases are not reported.)

How many children get PTSD?

Studies show that about 15% to 43% of girls and 14% to 43% of boys go through at least one trauma. Of those children and teens who have had a trauma, 3% to 15% of girls and 1% to 6% of boys develop PTSD. Rates of PTSD are higher for certain types of trauma survivors.
— US Department of Veterans Affairs - National Center for PTSD