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School based intervention improves PTSD symptoms in children affected by political violence

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QUESTION

Question:

What is the efficacy of a school based intervention on the psychosocial wellbeing of children in violence affected communities?

Patients:

495 children (mean age 9.9 years (range 7–15), 51% boys), selected from 14 randomly selected schools within Poso, Indonesia, an area affected by communal violence since 1998. For inclusion, children had to have been exposed to at least one violent event and show symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety. Exclusions: children displaying violent behaviour, unable to follow instructions, mutism, substance abuse, psychosis, panic or phobic disorders, mental retardation, dissociative disorders or epilepsy without medication.

Setting:

14 secondary schools in the Poso district, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia; March to December 2006.

Intervention:

School based group psychosocial intervention (237 children from seven schools) or wait-list control (258 children from seven schools). The psychosocial intervention consisted of 15 group sessions over 5 weeks (about 15 children per group) of a manual classroom based intervention. The intervention integrated cooperative play and exercises based on drama, dance and music with cognitive behavioural therapy techniques. …

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