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Trauma, mental health, and intergenerational associations in Kosovar Families 11 years after the war


Schick, Matthis; Morina, Naser; Klaghofer, Richard; Schnyder, Ulrich; Müller, Julia (2013). Trauma, mental health, and intergenerational associations in Kosovar Families 11 years after the war. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 4:21060.

Abstract

Background: While there is a considerable amount of literature addressing consequences of trauma in veterans and holocaust survivors, war and postwar civilian populations, particularly children, are still understudied. Evidence regarding intergenerational effects of trauma in families is inconsistent.
Objective: To shed light on intergenerational aspects of trauma-related mental health problems among families 11 years after the Kosovo war.
Method: In a cross-sectional study, a paired sample of 51 randomly selected triplets (school-aged child, mother, father, N=153) of Kosovar families was investigated with regard to trauma exposure, posttraumatic stress (UCLA Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale), anxiety (Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale, Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25), and depressive symptoms (Depressionsinventar fu¨ r Kinder und Jugendliche [DIKJ; depression inventory for children and adolescents], Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25).
Results: Considerable trauma exposure and high prevalence rates of clinically relevant posttraumatic stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms were found in both parents and children. While strong correlations were found between children’s depressive symptoms and paternal posttraumatic stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms, maternal symptoms did not correlate with their children’s. In multiple regression analyses, only posttraumatic stress symptoms of fathers were significantly related with children’s depressive symptoms.
Conclusion: Eleven years after the Kosovo war, the presence of posttraumatic stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms in civilian adults and their children is still substantial. As symptoms of parents and children are associated, mental health problems of close ones should be actively screened and accounted for in comprehensive treatment plans, using a systemic approach. Future research should include longitudinal studies conducting multivariate analyses with larger sample sizes in order to investigate indicators, causal and resilience factors.

Abstract

Background: While there is a considerable amount of literature addressing consequences of trauma in veterans and holocaust survivors, war and postwar civilian populations, particularly children, are still understudied. Evidence regarding intergenerational effects of trauma in families is inconsistent.
Objective: To shed light on intergenerational aspects of trauma-related mental health problems among families 11 years after the Kosovo war.
Method: In a cross-sectional study, a paired sample of 51 randomly selected triplets (school-aged child, mother, father, N=153) of Kosovar families was investigated with regard to trauma exposure, posttraumatic stress (UCLA Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale), anxiety (Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale, Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25), and depressive symptoms (Depressionsinventar fu¨ r Kinder und Jugendliche [DIKJ; depression inventory for children and adolescents], Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25).
Results: Considerable trauma exposure and high prevalence rates of clinically relevant posttraumatic stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms were found in both parents and children. While strong correlations were found between children’s depressive symptoms and paternal posttraumatic stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms, maternal symptoms did not correlate with their children’s. In multiple regression analyses, only posttraumatic stress symptoms of fathers were significantly related with children’s depressive symptoms.
Conclusion: Eleven years after the Kosovo war, the presence of posttraumatic stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms in civilian adults and their children is still substantial. As symptoms of parents and children are associated, mental health problems of close ones should be actively screened and accounted for in comprehensive treatment plans, using a systemic approach. Future research should include longitudinal studies conducting multivariate analyses with larger sample sizes in order to investigate indicators, causal and resilience factors.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:16 Aug 2013 14:53
Last Modified:13 Aug 2017 11:42
Publisher:Co-Action Publishing
ISSN:2000-8066
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3402/ejpt.v4i0.21060
PubMed ID:23956820

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