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Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2011;2. doi: 10.3402/ejpt.v2i0.5825. Epub 2011 Dec 1.

Adolescents' posttraumatic stress reactions and behavior problems following Marmara earthquake.

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1
Department of Psychology, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although most children and adolescents exhibit some kindof postdisaster reactions, their symptoms vary depending on the age, gender, parental social support, disaster and postdisaster contextual factors.

OBJECTIVE:

This study examined adolescents' postdisaster experiences, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and behavior problems 13 months after the 1999 Marmara earthquake in Turkey.

DESIGN:

Participants included 695 adolescents aged 12-17 years, who resided in three districts of Izmit at varying distances from the epicenter (e.g., high (HI), medium (MI), and low impact (LI) areas). Measures included demographics, earthquake exposure experiences, ChildPTSD Reaction Index, and Behavior Problems Index.

RESULTS:

Findings revealed that 76% of the adolescents reported moderate to very severe levels of PTSD symptoms (82% HI, 70% MI, and 70% LI) after the devastating earthquake. As expected, the HI group reported more symptoms than did members of MI and LI groups. Overall, 39% of the variance in adolescents' PTSD symptoms was accounted for by the degree of exposure and gender. Analyses also indicated an increase in the frequency of adolescents' behavior problems following the earthquake.

CONCLUSIONS:

The findings of this study have clinical implications for designing and implementing effective, developmentally appropriate, and culturally sensitive intervention programs for the victims of major disasters.

KEYWORDS:

adolescents; behavior problems; disaster; earthquake; posttraumatic stress disorder

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