Correlates of persisting posttraumatic symptoms in children and adolescents 18 months after a cyclone disaster

Mcdermott, Brett, Cobham, Vanessa, Berry, Helen and Kim, Bungnyun (2014) Correlates of persisting posttraumatic symptoms in children and adolescents 18 months after a cyclone disaster. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 48 1: 80-86. doi:10.1177/0004867413500349

Author Mcdermott, Brett
Cobham, Vanessa
Berry, Helen
Kim, Bungnyun
Title Correlates of persisting posttraumatic symptoms in children and adolescents 18 months after a cyclone disaster
Journal name Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-8674
Publication date 2014-01-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0004867413500349
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 48
Issue 1
Start page 80
End page 86
Total pages 7
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Sage Publications
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: To describe PTSD symptom persistence and resolution, including the potential phenomenon of late-onset PTSD, in children and adolescents 18 months after a cyclone disaster; and to investigate factors that predict longer-term symptom outcome.
Method: 71 children and 191 adolescents who were screened three months after a Category 5 Cyclone were rescreened 18 months post-disaster. Child-report measures included the PTSD Reaction Index, measures of event exposure and social connectedness.
Results: Approximately 1-in-5 children and 1-in-12 adolescents endorsed cyclone-related PTSD symptoms at the moderate to severe level 18 months post-disaster. Of these approximately one-half (44.8%) of children were in the 'high-persister' group at 18-month follow-up. Persistence of low symptoms was very common (97.6%) and late-onset PTSD was a rare phenomenon. This pattern was similar in adolescents: 25.0% were in the 'high-persister' group and few students experienced late-onset PTSD. In multivariate analysis, only initial severe to very severe PTSD category made a significant independent contribution to explaining persisting moderate to severe PTSD symptoms in primary school students (ORadj=8.33, 95% CI=1.45-47.84). There was a trend for a similar result in secondary students.
Conclusion: A child or adolescent with few PTSD symptoms three months post-disaster is likely to remain so unless a further traumatic event occurs. However, if symptomatic at three months, there is approximately a 30-45% chance that the child or adolescent will still be symptomatic 18 months after the disaster. Given the high rate of students in the 'resolver' group, initial posttraumatic symptoms are a necessary but not sufficient condition for predicting chronic symptomatology. Other targets for predictive modelling include initial threat perception and high and low social connectedness.
Keyword Adolescents
Posttraumatic stress disorder
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online 23 August 2013

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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