Studies with adult participants with emotional disorders have revealed an explicit memory bias in favor of recalling negative emotional information, particularly if the information is related to the participants' emotional concerns. This process was investigated in a preliminary study with children and adolescents with posttraumatic stress disorder and control participants. Participants were presented with sets of negative, neutral, and positive words and asked to recall them after a short retention interval. Posttraumatic stress disorder participants showed poorer overall memory performance compared with control participants. They also showed a bias in favor of recalling negative information, but there was no evidence of any specificity beyond this for threat-related material. Regression analyses revealed no relationship between mood, memory bias, and age. Results an discussed in terms of the adult literature and with respect to issues of the developmental continuity of posttraumatic stress disorder. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.