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Trauma, grief, and PTSD in Palestinian children victims of War on Gaza PDF Print E-mail
Aug 29, 2010 at 05:20 PM

Abstract

Purpose: Exposure to war trauma has been independently associated with posttraumatic stress (PTSD) and grief in children and adults. The aim of this study was to establish the relationship between war traumatic experiences due to last war on Gaza, PTSD, and traumatic grief children.

Methods: The study was conducted in the Gaza Strip, in areas exposed to war for 23 days. The sample included 374 children aged 6-17 years. Children completed measures of experience of traumatic events (Gaza Traumatic Checklist-War on Gaza), PTSD, and Grief inventory.

Results: Palestinians children experiences variety of traumatic events: 93.9% hear shelling of the area by artillery, 93.9% hear the sonic sounds of the jetfighters, and 69% left home form more safe place, and 24.5% exposed to burn by bombs. Each child reported 12.80 traumatic events.  Results showed that 98.7% of children reported that they were not safe at homes, 96.3% were not able to protect themselves, 96% were not able to protect their family members, and 94.4% said other people outside the family were not able to protect them. The study showed that from total number of children 35 of the children said that they lost someone from the family (9.4%) and 338 said they did not loss any one (90.6%). Mean grief reactions in boys were 19.96 and 18.29 in girls. Using the previous cut-off point of CPTSD-RI, 1.3% of children showed no PTS reactions, 7.2% reported mild PTSD reactions, 29.9% showed moderate PTS reactions, and 61.5% showed severe to very severe PTS reactions. Trauma exposure was significantly associated with PTS reactions. No sex differences in reporting trauma or PTS reactions.

Conclusions: This study revealed that children living in area of conflict and war are the main scapegoats of such war and their exposure to trauma is inevitable during the war and the international laws to protect the civilians during the conflict and establishing save haven for children and their families to decrease the effect of war on children. Also, more interventions must be conducted in group base and concentrated on helping children to overcome their trauma and grief. Also, parents had to be involved in such activities to be able of detecting children with pathological grief and enable them of helping children in overcoming the effect of grief and trauma.

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