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6th International Congress of the WIAMH

Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, August 13-15, 1999.

POSSIBILITY OF REDUCTION OF WAR TRAUMA ON PRE-SCHOOL CHILDREN WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT

Džemal ŠESTAN i Osman SINANOVIĆ

Outpatient Clinic Tuzla,
Psychiatric Clinic, University Clinical Centre Tuzla, Faculty of Medicine of the Tuzla University,
Bosnia and Herzegovina

The war presents a rather difficult traumatic experience leading to various losses, separation of people, their injuries and difficult physical and psychical suffering of the whole population. An extremely difficult position is the one of children. This paper shows results of a research that has a goal in determination of a possibility how to reduce war trauma on pre-school children and their mothers with the assistance of organised psychosocial support. Applied forms of psychosocial assistance were continued education of teachers in the fields of development psychology and war trauma, counselling with mothers through individual approach and work in smaller groups, counselling assistance of psychologists to the teachers through every-day talks. Organised psychosocial treatment took ten months. There were three examined groups with 32 refugee children age 6-7 and their mothers in each, where all participants were randomly chosen. The first group was made of children from a kindergarten with organised psychosocial assistance. The second group featured children from a kindergarten without such assistance, while the third group featured children who were not going to any kindergarten and who had no kind of organised support. The reviewed Questionnaire on Trauma and its Symptoms for Evaluation of Trauma on Children, as well as the Scale for Evaluation of Stressful Events for mothers (PTSS-10) were used for the research. The tests were completed before the start of the treatment, half way through the treatment and at the end of it. The founded results showed that a significantly larger reduction of symptoms existed with the children who were present at the kindergarten with organised psychosocial assistance in comparison with the other two groups. There was also a significant decrease of trauma symptoms on their mothers in comparison to mothers of the other two groups. The worst situation was seen at the group of children and their mothers, who were not receiving any kind of organised psychosocial assistance – the third groups of children who were not going to kindergartens.

Key words: War – Trauma – Children – Mothers – Psychosocial Support

Reference:

  1. Ajduković D (1995) Psychosocial Assistance to Children – Why do they need such assistance? U: Ajduković D (urednik): Programi psihosocijalne pomoći prognanoj i izbjegloj djeci. Zagreb: Društvo za psihološku pomoć, 5-6.
  2. Ćatić B, Sinanović O, Pašagić I (1996) Traumatic reactions of children in a Tuzla orphanage. The Book of Abstracts of the 1st European Conference on Traumatic Stress in Emergency Services, Peacekeeping Operations and Humanitarian Aid Organisations, Sheffield, England, p.8.
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