Background: The aim of this study was to identify long-term effects of diagnostic criteria on the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL-C) for a test group of Finnish evacuees from World War II and compare the outcome effect with a control group of children who lived in Finland during the war in 1939–1945.
Methods: 152 participants were recruited by the local leader of the Finnish War Child Association in Sweden and Finland. The selected group answered questions on the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL-C) and the EMBU (Swedish acronym for “Own Memories of Parental Rearing”).
Results: Evidence suggests a link between childhood parental separation and termination of the internalized attachment hierarchy of origin in a detachment process among Finnish evacuees. Based on the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Total (PCL-C) diagnosis an extreme traumatization for 36.7% of the test group subjects was identified, including a hidden Holocaust trauma in the population of Finnish evacuees.
Conclusions: The study met the criteria for satisfying global evidence value. Sixty-five years after the end of World War II and in line with other studies on war children, the data show high levels of different trauma exposures from the war with 10.6 higher risk (odds ratio) for the exposed group of Finnish evacuees. Despite some limitations, the data highlight the need for further investigation into different parts of the detachment process among seriously traumatized groups to reveal resilience and other dimensions of importance in professional mental health creation.