Psychosocial assistance project decreases posttraumatic stress disorder and depression amongst primary and secondary schools students in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina
Keywords:PTSD, Depression, School Students, Psychosocial assistance, Bosnia-Herzegovina
AbstractObjective. To assess whether psychosocial support of the School Projectof the Humanitarian Society (HS) “Prijateljice (Girlfriends)” hada positive eff ect on reducing posttraumatic consequences in Bosnia-Herzegovina primary and secondary school students, aft er the 1992-1995 war. Subjects and Methods. A stratifi ed sample of 336 students,aged 13.5±1.6 (10 to18) years, in primary and secondary schools, involvedin psychosocial support, were compared with 72 randomly selectedpeers from the same schools, not involved in this project. Datawere collected in December 2005 and in May 2006. Th e Children’sDepression Inventory and the Child Post-Traumatic Stress ReactionIndex were utilized. Statistical analysis involved McNemar’s test, Students’t-test, Chi-square test and Pearson’s correlation test. Results.According to DSM, the prevalence of PTSD and depression amongstudents involved in the School Project, signifi cantly decreased from46.1% to 13.4% and 25.6% to 1.8%, respectively (McNemar’s test,P<0.001; P<0.001, respectively). In the control group the prevalenceof PTSP and depression decreased from 30.5% to 23.6% and 22.2%to 11.1%, respectively, with no signifi cance (McNemar’s test, p=0.332;p=0.077, signifi cantly). Girls had a signifi cantly higher prevalence ofboth PTSD and depression compared to the boys. Age, the numberof traumatic episodes, and suicidal behavior correlated with the intensityof PTSD symptoms and depression symptoms. Conclusions.Psychosocial support within the School Project resulted in a signifi -cant reduction of PTSP and depression amongst the involved studentscompared to the controls. Schools and other institutions ought to envisageas many projects as possible to be implemented in school andout-of-school to assist young people to overcome more easily the consequencesof the war in their development.
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