Objectives: This study was designed to assess the prevalence of PTSD among Palestinian school-age children. Variables that distinguish PTSD and non-PTSD children were examined, including child characteristics, socioeconomic status, family environment, and parental style of influence.
Method: Participants were 1,000 children aged 12 to 16 years. They were selected from governmental, private, and United Nations Relief Work Agency (UNRWA) schools in East Jerusalem and various governorates in the West Bank. Questionnaires were administered in an interview format with children at school, and with the available parent at home.
Results: A substantial number of children experienced at least one lifetime trauma (54.7%). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was diagnosed in 34.1% of the children, most of whom were refugees, males, and working. Although the expected association between family environment, parental style of influence and PTSD symptomatoplogy was found in this study, family ambiance (child's experience of anxiety in home environment) was the only predictor in the final model.
Conclusions: The results stress the importance of assessing PTSD in schools settings.