Aims: The aim of the study was to examine the relationship between war trauma, PTSD, depression, and anxiety among Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip.
Method: A sample consisted of 251 children aged 6-16 were selected from 3 summer camps in the Gaza Strip. Children were interviewed using the following scales: sociodemographic scale, Gaza Traumatic Events Checklist, Impact of Events Scale, Children Revised Manifest Anxiety Scale, and Children Depression Inventory.
Results: The results showed that the most common traumatic events due to war on 2009 reported by children were hearing shelling of the area by artillery, hearing the sonic sounds of jetfighters, watching mutilated bodies on TV, and hearing shootings and bombardment. Mean Impact of Events Scale was 18.37, intrusion subscale mean was 8.98, avoidance subscale mean was 9.49, 148 children were in the clinical range for post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms (59%). Study showed that 21.9% of children had anxiety and 50.6% had depression. Total traumatic events were significantly correlated PTSD, avoidance, arousal symptoms, anxiety, and depression.
Clinical implications: The findings showed that political violence due to war trauma is related to the development of PTSD and depression in Palestinian children in Gaza Strip.
Different levels of programs and interventions had to be described; such interventions under extremely adverse circumstances can be put in place after children’s basic needs have been met. This is because existing emergency aid agencies have already responded to the local infrastructure in specialized and culturally appropriate ways and so can serve as a channel for the provision of additional services.
Abdelaziz M Thabet, Sanaa S Thabet and Panos Vostanis