Trajectories of PTSD symptoms among children who survived the Lushan earthquake: A four-year longitudinal study.

Authors:
Jin Cheng
Jin Cheng
University of South Florida
United States
Buzohre Eli
Buzohre Eli
CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health

J Affect Disord 2019 Jun 9;252:421-427. Epub 2019 Apr 9.

CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, 16 Lincui Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China. Electronic address:

Background: This study aimed to explore the trajectories of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among child survivors of the Lushan earthquake by using latent category growth analysis.

Methods: In total, 304 students from a school located in Lushan County were assessed by UCLA PTSD-RI at 1.5, 6, 12, 24 and 48 months after the earthquake. The children ages ranged from 9 to 17 years old at the time of the first assessment, and the sample included 140 males and 164 females.

Results: Four trajectories of PTSD symptoms were found, namely, resilience (53.8%), low symptoms (32.6%), recovery (7.0%), and chronic dysfunction (6.6%). Then, a logistic regression analysis that controlled for gender and grade showed that compared with the resilience group, children with an injury or probable acute stress disorder (ASD) were likely to be in the recovery group, children with probable ASD were more likely to be in the low-symptoms group, and children with a bad relationship with their father were more likely to be in the chronic group.

Limitations: The participants were selected by convenience principle. All children received an intervention after the earthquake.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that increasing children's social support may relieve children's PTSD symptoms. We should consider both perceived threat and object exposure in future studies. The posttraumatic stress response was very high and was unstable during the first month after the earthquake, which suggests that psychological first aid is necessary in posttraumatic events.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2019.04.047DOI Listing

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June 2019
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