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Title: Role of childhood adversities and environmental sensitivity in the development of post-traumatic stress disorder in war-exposed Syrian refugee children and adolescents
Authors: Karam, Elie
Fayyad, John A
Farhat, Claudia
Pluess, Michael
Haddad, Youmna C
Tabet, Caroline C
Farah, Lynn
Kessler, Ronald C
Affiliations: Faculty of Medicine 
Keywords: PTSD
Childhood adversities
Mental disorders
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: National Library of Medicine
Part of: The British Journal of Psychiatry
Volume: 214
Issue: 6
Start page: 354
End page: 360
Increased post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) rates have been documented in children exposed to war. However, the contribution of childhood adversities and environmental sensitivity to children's responses to adversities and trauma are still far from settled.

To evaluate the relative roles of war, childhood adversities and sensitivity in the genesis of PTSD.

Data on childhood adversities and sensitivity was collected from 549 Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. PTSD symptoms were assessed using the PTSD Reaction Index.

Although childhood adversities, war events and sensitivity were all significantly related to PTSD in bivariate analyses, multivariate analyses showed that childhood adversities were the most important variable in predicting PTSD. The effect of war on PTSD was found to be dependent on the interplay between childhood adversities and sensitivity, and was most prominent in highly sensitive children with lower levels of adversities; in sensitive children experiencing high levels of adversities, the effects of war exposure on PTSD were less pronounced.

When considering the effects of war on PTSD in refugee children, it is important to take account of the presence of other adversities as well as of children's sensitivity. Sensitive children may be more vulnerable to the negative effects of war exposure, but only in contexts that are characterised by low childhood adversities.
ISSN: 00071250
DOI: 10.1192/bjp.2018.272
Ezproxy URL: Link to full text
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Medicine

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