The Role of Objective and Subjective Experiences, Direct and Media Exposure, Social and Organizational Support, and Educational and Gender Effects in the Prediction of Children Posttraumatic Stress Reaction One Year after Calamity.
Eighty-three students and one teacher died when a powerful earthquake hit eastern Turkey at 3:27 in the morning. The boarding school at which they were residents was destroyed. The purpose of this study was to test the direct, indirect, objective, and subjective exposure effect on the development of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The impact of social and organizational support, as well as age and gender factors, were examined in relationship to the development of PTSD in this group. Participants included 270 disaster survivor elementary and secondary school students. One year after the disaster, each participant filled out a Children’s Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Reaction Index (CPTSD), trauma exposure, trauma experiencing, social support, and organizational support scale. Contributing factors were predicted with a stepwise regression analysis. A combination of direct, indirect, objective exposure scores, subjective exposure scores, gender, age, organizational and social support variables accounted for 17% of the PTSD scores. Direct exposure accounted for 6%, subjective exposure 5.4%, age 2%, food shortage 1%, and having a friend moving away after the disaster contributed 2.6% of the total variance. Subjective exposure (fear) and direct exposure appeared to be the most significant predictors. However, inconsistent with previous research studies, media exposure, gender, and physical exposure seemed to be especially poor contributors. Neither school nor home damage, the death of relatives or friends, or gas, water, and electric shortages contributed significantly to the results. However, fear experienced during the disaster, food shortages and the loss of a friend who moved away after the earthquake were all powerful predictors. Protective factors, which can strengthen or modify the individual's ability to cope, include healthy family functioning, support from peers and family members, organizing a social network, and the utilization of civil organizations. Thus, researcher and practitioner should pay attention to those predictive and protective factors.
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