Vulnerability factors for disaster-induced child post-traumatic stress disorder : the case for low family resilience and previous mental illness

McDermott, Brett M., Cobham, Vanessa E., Berry, Helen, & Stallman, Helen M. (2010) Vulnerability factors for disaster-induced child post-traumatic stress disorder : the case for low family resilience and previous mental illness. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 44(4), pp. 384-389.

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Objective: The aim of the present study was to investigate whether parent report of family resilience predicted children’s disaster-induced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and general emotional symptoms, independent of a broad range of variables including event-related factors, previous child mental illness and social connectedness. ----------

Methods: A total of 568 children (mean age = 10.2 years, SD = 1.3) who attended public primary schools, were screened 3 months after Cyclone Larry devastated the Innisfail region of North Queensland. Measures included parent report on the Family Resilience Measure and Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)–emotional subscale and child report on the PTSD Reaction Index, measures of event exposure and social connectedness. ----------

Results: Sixty-four students (11.3%) were in the severe–very severe PTSD category and 53 families (28.6%) scored in the poor family resilience range. A lower family resilience score was associated with child emotional problems on the SDQ and longer duration of previous child mental health difficulties, but not disaster-induced child PTSD or child threat perception on either bivariate analysis, or as a main or moderator variable on multivariate analysis (main effect: adjusted odds ratio (ORadj) = 0.57, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.13–2.44). Similarly, previous mental illness was not a significant predictor of child PTSD in the multivariate model (ORadj = 0.75, 95%CI = 0.16–3.61). ----------

Conclusion: In this post-disaster sample children with existing mental health problems and those of low-resilience families were not at elevated risk of PTSD. The possibility that the aetiological model of disaster-induced child PTSD may differ from usual child and adolescent conceptualizations is discussed.

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18 citations in Scopus
16 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 37967
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Children, Family Resilience, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
DOI: 10.3109/00048670903489916
ISSN: 0004-8674
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > CLINICAL SCIENCES (110300)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > COGNITIVE SCIENCE (170200)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Health Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
Deposited On: 14 Oct 2010 22:04
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:44

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