A school based study of psychological disturbance in children following the Omagh bombReport as inadecuate

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Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health

, 7:36

First Online: 27 October 2013Received: 21 June 2013Accepted: 23 October 2013


ObjectiveTo assess the extent and nature of psychiatric morbidity among children aged 8 to 13 years 15 months after a car bomb explosion in the town of Omagh, Northern Ireland.

MethodA survey was conducted of 1945 school children attending 13 schools in the Omagh district. Questionnaires included demographic details, measures of exposure, the Horowitz Impact of Events Scale, the Birleson Self-Rating Depression Scale, and the Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale.

ResultsChildren directly exposed to the bomb reported higher levels of probable PTSD 70%, and psychological distress than those not exposed. Direct exposure was more closely associated with an increase in PTSD symptoms than in general psychiatric distress. Significant predictors of increased IES scores included being male, witnessing people injured and reporting a perceived life threat but when co-morbid anxiety and depression are included as potential predictors anxiety remains the only significant predictor of PTSD scores.

ConclusionsSchool-based studies are a potentially valuable means of screening and assessing for PTSD in children after large-scale tragedies. Assessment should consider type of exposure, perceived life threat and other co-morbid anxiety as risk factors for PTSD.

KeywordsChildren PTSD Bombing Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1753-2000-7-36 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Maura McDermott - Michael Duffy - Andy Percy - Michael Fitzgerald - Claire Cole

Source: https://link.springer.com/

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