Preliminary Evidence for a Classroom Based Psychosocial Intervention for Disaster Exposed Children with Posttraumatic Stress Symptomatology

Ask Elklit, Stine Rønholt, Sidsel Karsberg

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Background In 2004, a firework factory in a residential area of a large Danish city
exploded. The children at the local school were screened for symptoms of posttraumatic
stress disorder (PTSD) 16 months and 3 years after the incident. A large proportion of
the children still suffered from a substantial number of symptoms 3 years after the
incident. Thus, a treatment program designed to target PTSD symptoms in trauma-exposed
children was established.
Objectives The first aim of this study was to provide preliminary evidence that a
classroom-based psychosocial intervention program for children with posttraumatic stress
would be associated with reductions in symptoms. The second aim was to evaluate the
usefulness of the Darryl, a cartoon-based PTSD screening instrument.
Methods One hundred and eight children participated in the treatment program, all of
whom fulfilled at least two out of the three DSM-IV PTSD symptom clusters. The children
were screened for PTSD symptoms at baseline and 1 month after treatment using Darryl.
Results There was a statistically significant reduction in PTSD symptoms from pretreatment
to post-treatment. Furthermore, a logistic regression analysis revealed that being
female, being young, and having a high PTSD score at baseline predicted a probable PTSD
diagnosis post-treatment.
Conclusion The present study provides preliminary evidence of feasibility and that the
treatment program described may help to alleviate PTSD symptoms children with chronic
PTSD symptoms. Furthermore, the results indicated that the Darryl instrument is a useful
screening tool for assessing PTSD symptoms in this sample of children.
Keywords Trauma Disaster Treatment Children Assessment
TidsskriftChild and Youth Care Forum
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)617-631
StatusUdgivet - 2013