The present level of post-traumatic stress symptoms in a sample of child survivors of World War II
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Psychiatr Pol 2012;46(2):145–156
Aim. The aim of the study was to estimate the prevalence of PTSD and level of symptoms more broadly considered as post-traumatic e.g. depression among Polish child survivors of World War II. Method. Data were collected from 218 individuals aged 63-78. Measures: a list of questions regarding exposure to a range of war related traumas; PDS (Foa, 1995); IES (Horowitz et al., 1976) to measure PTSD symptoms and BDI (Beck et al., 1961) for depression symptoms. Results. Exposure to potentially traumatic events related to the WWII varied from 1.83% to 47.25%. The prevalence of PTSD symptoms at a diagnostic level according to PDS was 29.4%. The mean values B, C and D category symptoms were respectively: 2.08 (SD =1.74), 2.34 (SD =1.98) and 2.40 (SD =1.69). Greater age, parental loss and exposure to at least one traumatic war-related event (this variable was close to the level of statistical significance, however) were all predictors of a diagnostic level of PTSD symptoms. Conclusions. 60 years after WW II about one third of respondents manifest a clinical level of PTSD symptoms. Taking into consideration the results of the research on the child survivors of the modern wars, psychosocial and cultural factors should also be examined as causes of this phenomenon.