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Trauma exposure in pre-school children in a war zone

  • Abel Aziz Mousa Thabet (a1), Khalid Karim (a2) and Panos Vostanis (a2)
Abstract
Background

There has been little reported research into the effect of war on the behaviour and emotional well-being of pre-school children.

Aims

To investigate the relationship between exposure to war trauma and behavioural and emotional problems among pre-school children.

Method

Atotal of 309 children aged 3–6 years were selected from kindergartens in the Gaza Strip, and were assessed by parental reports in regard to their exposure to war trauma, using the Gaza Traumatic Checklist, and their behavioural and emotional problems, using the Behaviour Checklist (BCL) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).

Results

Pre-school children were exposed to a wide range of traumatic events. The total number of traumatic events independently predicted total BCL and SDQ scores. Exposure to day raids and shelling of the children's houses by tanks were significantly associated with total behavioural and emotional problems scores.

Conclusions

Direct and non-direct exposure to war trauma increases the risk of behavioural and emotional problems among pre-school children, which may present as non-specific psychopathology.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Professor Panos Vostanis, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Leicester, Greenwood Institute of Child Health, Westcotes House, Westcotes Drive, Leicester LE2 0QU, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 116 225 2885; fax: +44 (0) 116 225 2881; e-mail: pvll@le.ac.uk
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Declaration of Interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
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Trauma exposure in pre-school children in a war zone

  • Abel Aziz Mousa Thabet (a1), Khalid Karim (a2) and Panos Vostanis (a2)
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