Ethnicity, Religious Coping, and Post-Disaster Support as Predictors of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Children and Adolescents
African Americans have reported higher levels of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms than their Caucasian counterparts in some studies. Variables hypothesized to contribute to differential levels of PTSD symptoms between African Americans and Caucasians that have not been adequately explored in these studies include ethnicity, resource loss, religious coping, and social support. The purpose of this study was to test portions of a model that characterizes the relationship between traumatic events and PTSD symptoms in African Americans and Caucasians. It was hypothesized that ethnicity, perceived ethnic identity, socioeconomic status (SES), resource loss, religious coping, family support, and professional support would be significant predictors of PTSD symptoms. Data from 59 African American children and adolescents, aged 4 to 20, and 54 of their Caucasian counterparts from the Residential Fire Project were used to examine the role of ethnicity, SES, resource loss, religious coping, family support, and professional support in the development of PTSD symptoms. Data from 86 African Americans and 417 Caucasians, aged 15 to 21 from the National Comorbidity Survey (NCS), were used to examine the role of ethnicity, perceived ethnic identity, SES, religious coping, family support, mental healthcare, and non-mental healthcare in the development of PTSD symptoms. Participants in the Fire Project were interviewed individually, and completed self-report questionnaires. Results indicated that only resource loss factors contributed significantly to the prediction of variance in PTSD symptoms. Participants in the NCS were also interviewed individually. Results indicated that mental healthcare, family support, SES, ethnicity, and religious coping contributed significantly to the prediction of variance in PTSD symptoms in this sample. Findings are discussed within a psychosocial model.