Social connectedness: a potential aetiological factor in the development of child post-traumatic stress disorder

McDermott, Brett, Berry, Helen, and Cobham, Vanessa (2012) Social connectedness: a potential aetiological factor in the development of child post-traumatic stress disorder. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 46 (2). pp. 109-117.

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Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate a new social connectedness factor and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in children who experienced a cyclone disaster.

Method: Three months post-disaster school-based screening for PTSD was conducted. 804 children (mean age=10.22 years, SD=1.24) participated. 12.0% of children reported severe or very severe PTSD symptoms.

Results: Low connected children, adjusted for age, gender and independent of cyclone exposure and threat perception, were 3.96 times more likely to experience severe to very severe PTSD. A structural model of child PTSD indicated that connectedness was the most important factor explaining variance in children's symptomatology. The final model accounted for 60% of the variance of child PTSD scores.

Conclusions: We conclude that child connectedness is a new, significant, independent factor in a model of post-disaster child PTSD. Connectedness may represent a vulnerability factor that can be targeted preventatively in children in disaster-prone regions. Conversely, a pre-disaster intervention that helps children develop high connectedness may have the potential to confer resilience.

Item ID: 44546
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-1614
Keywords: children, post-traumatic stress disorder, natural disasters, social connectedness
Funders: Queensland Health (QH)
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2016 05:42
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1199 Other Medical and Health Sciences > 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920111 Nervous System and Disorders @ 100%
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