Post-traumatic Stress Reactions in Children of War

Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, Palestine.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 6.46). 04/1999; 40(3):385-91. DOI: 10.1017/S0021963098003709
Source: PubMed


The aims of this study were to estimate the rate of post-traumatic stress reactions in Palestinian children who experienced war traumas, and to investigate the relationship between trauma-related factors and PTSD reactions. The sample consisted of 239 children of 6 to 11 years of age. Measures included the Rutter A2 (parent) and B2 (teacher) scales, the Gaza Traumatic Event Checklist, and the Child Post-Traumatic Stress Reaction Index. Of the sample, 174 children (72.8%) reported PTSD reactions of at least mild intensity, while 98 (41%) reported moderate/severe PTSD reactions. Caseness on the Rutter A2 scale was detected in 64 children (26.8%), which correlated well with detection of PTSD reactions, but not with teacher-detected caseness. The total number of experienced traumas was the best predictor of presence and severity of PTSD. Intervention programmes for post-war children need to be evaluated, taking into account developmental and cultural aspects, as well as characteristics of the communities involved.

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