All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

David C Knight

Advisory Committee Members

Despina Stavrinos

Christianne E Strang

Kristina M Visscher

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


About 90% of the population will experience a traumatic event within their lifetime, but only a small percentage of this population will develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD has a profound impact on the developing brain, specifically neural circuits that support fear learning, memory, and regulation processes. Child PTSD is associated with structural and functional abnormalities in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, amygdala, and anterior cingulate cortex, which effect emotion regulation, memory, threat processing, and fear extinction. These neurological effects on the developing brain have serious implications for academic achievement, but with institutional interventions, schools have been able to effectively reduce the psychological distress and academic regression that is associated with PTSD. Overall, the research on child PTSD is still very limited, and there is a need for more studies on this pediatric population to clarify conflicting findings in previous research. The following paper will review the current literature related to the impact that PTSD has on the developing brain and will discuss educational considerations.



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