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Evaluation report

2001 BHG: Post-War Intervention Program for Adolescents: Results of Psychodiagnostic Screening



Author: Ðapo, N.

Executive summary

Background

 

Purpose / Objective

The psychodiagnostic screening of a sample of 900 pupils in secondary schools in Federation of BiH was performed in fall, 2000. Based on the results of the screening, pupils with high scores on scales of post-traumatic stress symptoms, depressive reactions and grief were identified. Those pupils were then included in a group therapy program focused on trauma and grief.

Methodology

The sample consists of 900 pupils, an equal number of men and women as well as an equal number of pupils from each of the nine secondary schools from Sarajevo and Travnik. The participants were pupils from first to fourth grade of secondary school.

Key Findings and Conclusions

The results of psychodiagnostic screening show that participants experienced a certain number of traumatic experiences even before the war. For example, 18.5% of participants saw someone who was beaten or injured by weapon, 15.8% of participants reported that some loved one could have died of life-threatening disease or injury, while 13.4% of participants witnessed serious accident.

Similar to expectations, a large number of participants experienced many war traumatic experiences. 55.8% of pupils saw a wounded person during the war, and 51.1% saw great devastations in live. 55.7% experienced shelling in their nearest closeness, and 53.2% of pupils reported that the bullet came so close to them that they could have been injured or killed. 10.0% of pupils lost their father during the war and 60% of them lost a close relative. 48.5% of pupils had to leave their homes and 35.4% had to leave their places of living. 79.2% of pupils reported that the loved one was in the first line of battle or had some other dangerous tasks. 60.2% of pupils were separated from their loved one during the war. 49.3% had to change school and place of schooling due to a war.

Post-war period brings new problems and obstacles as well as traumatic events. 34.6% reported a loss of a close person, and 20.6% had some close person ill or seriously injured. From the total number of pupils, 16.8% lived as a displaced person, 27.2% of pupils reported a lack of pocket money and 20.1% could not go to places where they wanted because of political reasons. 16.4% reported that a close friend of theirs had problems with alchocol or drugs. 49.9% of pupils lost a loved one because of death.

Normal type of reaction to the loss of a loved one is more frequent than complicated reactions. 71.4% of pupils reported that they missed a person who had died while 71.2% feel sad because of the loss. 61.9% reported that it was hard to believe that the person had died. For 66.3% of the pupils, the dead person is still an important part of their lives. 42.1% of pupils avoid conversations about the dead person.

Six years after the war, there are still observable post-traumatic reactions among adolescents. 28.3% of pupils are often or always very upset, sad or afraid when something reminds them of a war traumatic event while 29.8% of pupils try not to feel, talk or think about what happened. 29.1% of pupils often or always get afraid or jumpy when they hear loud noises or when something surprises them. A smaller number of depressive reactions was found among pupils.

Comparison of the results from 1997-1999 and 2000 shows that there is a decreasing trend of post-traumatic stress reactions, depression and complicated grief. Apart from this trend, there is still a disturbing result that even five years after the war, there is a significant number of adolescents with moderate and high PTSD. In a sub sample of pupils who lost a mother, father, brother or sister during the war, a certain increase in symptom of complicated grief was identified. This result shows that there is a large number of adolescents who still have not overcome the loss of a loved one.

Regression analysis shows that the most significant predictors of PTSD are reminders of war-traumatic events, and then post-war obstacles. These two predictors independently contribute to the variability of PTSD for 28%. The next significant predictors are traumatic events before the war and traumatic events during the war. Predictive variables explain 52% of variability of results for posttraumatic stress reactions. (Table 5.1)

The most significant predictors of depression are reminders of war-traumatic events, and then post-war obstacles. The significant predictors are also traumatic experiences before the war. Traumatic events during the war are not significant predictors of depressive reactions. Predictive variables explain 24% of variability in results of depression. (Table 5.2)

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Report information

Date:
2001

Region:
CEE/CIS

Country:
Bosnia-Herzegovina

Type:
Survey

Theme:
Health - Mental Health

Partners:

PIDB:

Follow Up:

Language:
English

Sequence Number:
2001/002

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