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Child's IQ Linked to Trauma Exposure, Post-Trauma Stress

Less trauma exposure or post-traumatic stress disorder in kids with higher IQs

TUESDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Children with higher IQs are less likely than other children to experience trauma, or to have long-term effects such as post-traumatic stress disorder after a traumatic incident, according to a report in the November issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Naomi Breslau, Ph.D., and colleagues from Michigan State University in East Lansing, and colleagues randomly selected 823 children aged 6 years and followed them up to age 17 to examine the extent to which intelligence, anxiety disorders and conduct problems as a child influenced exposure to traumatic events and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The investigators found that children aged 6 years with an IQ greater than 115 were at decreased risk of being exposed to traumatic events (odds ratio, 0.3), experiencing a non-assaultive trauma (OR, 0.6) and a decreased risk for PTSD (OR, 0.2).

The risk of exposure to assaultive violence and the conditional risk for PTSD was higher for children with anxiety disorders and a tendency to externalize problems beyond what is normal for a 6-year-old.

"The ways in which high IQ might protect from the PTSD effects of traumatic exposure are unclear," the authors conclude. "The findings underscore the importance of investigating cognitive processes in a person's responses to challenging and potentially traumatic experiences and the involvement of general intelligence in shaping them."

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