Health> Vol.5 No.6, June 2013

Comorbidity of post traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit with hyperactivity, conduct, and oppositional defiant disorder in Palestinian children affected by war on Gaza

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ABSTRACT

Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of war on children and comorbidity of post traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit with hyperactivity, conduct, and oppositional defiant disorder in Palestinian children. Methods: The study was conducted in the entire Gaza Strip 6 months after the end of the war on Gaza that lasted for 23 days. The study sample included 410 children aged 6 to 17 years. Children completed measures of experience of traumatic events (Gaza Traumatic Checklist-War on Gaza), post traumatic stress disorder index, attention deficit with hyperactivity scale for parents and self, conduct disorder scale, and oppositional defiant disorder. Results: Palestinians children investigated 6 months after the war on Gaza still reported traumatic experiences: 94.6% heard the sonic sounds of the jet fighters, 91.7% heard shelling of the area by artillery, 92% watched mutilated bodies on television, 80% were deprived from water or electricity during the war, 50.7% said they left home for safer place. Using Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV) criteria for post traumatic stress disorder, 25.1% of children reported no psychological reactions, 25.9% of children reported one criteria, 39.3% of children reported partial post traumatic stress disorder and 9.8% of children reported full criteria for post traumatic stress disorder. According to the parents’ report, the results showed 31.3% of children met the criteria for inattentive type, 36.3% of children were impulsive and 29% met criteria for combined type. According to the children’s report, the results showed 28.8% of children met the criteria for inattentive type, 37.3% of children were impulsive and 28.3% met criteria for combined type. Using DSM-IV diagnostic criteria of conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, the study showed that 38.1% of parents reported conduct disorder in their children and 46.3% reported oppositional defiant disorder. While 39.3% of children themselves reported conduct disorder and 44% of them reported oppositional defiant disorder. The study showed that 5.1% of children had comorbidity of post traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit disorder, 4.4% had comorbidity of post traumatic stress disorder and impulsivity-hyperactivity disorder, and 4.4% had comorbidity of post traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit with hyperactivity combined type. Also, 4.6% of children had comorbidity of conduct and post traumatic stress disorder and 6.1% had comorbidity of oppositional defiant disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. Conclusions: This study revealed that children living in areas of conflict and war are the main group at risk of developing post traumatic stress disorder and other behavioral problems including attention deficit with hyperactivity, conduct, and oppositional defiant disorder, and the internationallaws must protect the civilians during the conflict, establishing safe havens for children and their families to decrease the effect of war on children.

Cite this paper

Thabet, A. , Tawahina, A. , Sarraj, E. , Henely, D. , Pelleick, H. and Vostanis, P. (2013) Comorbidity of post traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit with hyperactivity, conduct, and oppositional defiant disorder in Palestinian children affected by war on Gaza. Health, 5, 994-1002. doi: 10.4236/health.2013.56132.

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