and Teacher-Reported Problems of Bosnian Children
Exposed to Violent and Nonviolent War Experiences
one of the very few studies of children during actual exposure
to war conditions, Maureen Allwood, Debora Bell-Dolan, and Syed
Arshad Husain (2002) assessed 791 Bosnian children during the
siege of Sarajevo. Interviewers obtained children's scores on
the PTSD Reaction Index, the War Experience Questionnaire, the
Impact of Events Scale, and the Children's Depression Inventory.
Teachers completed the Bosnian version of the Teacher's Report
Form (TRF). The largest correlations found for specific wartime
experiences with any psychological or behavioral measures were
between being threatened with direct violence and TRF Anxious/Depressed
scores and also between witnessing killing and TRF Delinquent
Behavior (now called Rule-Breaking Behavior) scores. Furthermore,
children who were not exposed to direct violence, deprivation,
or relocation obtained significantly lower scores on all TRF scales
than children who were exposed to violence, deprivation, or relocation.
Children with the largest number of violent trauma experiences
obtained significantly higher scores on the TRF Anxious/Depressed,
Somatic Problems, and Delinquent Behavior syndromes than other
children. However, children who had the most numerous nonviolent
trauma experiences obtained significantly higher scores than other
children on the TRF Withdrawn syndrome. Because not only direct
exposure to violence but indirect exposure and exposure to nonviolent
deprivation were associated with higher TRF problem scores, the
authors concluded that ". . . children may be best served
by efforts to reduce the compounded effects of multiple traumas.
For example, reducing exposure to indirect violence, such as graphic
media coverage of war atrocities, and providing comfort from fears
of starvation and freezing, may be functionally as helpful to
children's adjustment as reducing their direct exposure to violence"
Reference: Allwood, M.A., Bell-Dolan, D., & Husain,
S.A. (2002). Children's trauma and adjustment reactions to violent
and nonviolent war experiences. Journal of the American Academy
of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 41, 450-457.