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      Psychopathological status, behavior problems, and family adjustment of Kuwaiti children whose fathers were involved in the first gulf war

      research-article
      1 , 2 ,
      Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
      BioMed Central

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          Abstract

          Objectives

          Following the end of the Gulf War that resulted in the liberation of Kuwait, there are no reports on the impact of veterans' traumatic exposure and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on their children. We compared the severity of anxiety, depression, deviant behavior and poor family adjustment among the children of a stratified random sample of four groups of Kuwaiti military men, viz: the retired; an active -in-the-army group (AIA) (involved in duties at the rear); an in-battle group (IB) (involved in combat); and a prisoners -of- war (POWs) group. Also, we assessed the association of father's PTSD/combat status and mother's characteristics with child psychosocial outcomes.

          Method

          Subjects were interviewed at home, 6 years after the war, using: the Child Behavior Index to assess anxiety, depression, and adaptive behavior; Rutter Scale A2 for deviant behavior; and Family Adjustment Device for adjustment at home. Both parents were assessed for PTSD.

          Results

          The 489 offspring (250 m, 239 f; mean age 13.8 yrs) belonged to 166 father-mother pairs. Children of POWs tended to have higher anxiety, depression, and abnormal behavior scores. Those whose fathers had PTSD had significantly higher depression scores. However, children of fathers with both PTSD and POW status (N = 43) did not have significantly different outcome scores than the other father PTSD/combat status groups. Mother's PTSD, anxiety, depression and social status were significantly associated with all the child outcome variables. Parental age, child's age and child's level of education were significant covariates. Although children with both parents having PTSD had significantly higher anxiety/depression scores, the mother's anxiety was the most frequent and important predictor of child outcome variables. The frequency of abnormal test scores was: 14% for anxiety/depression, and 17% for deviant behavior.

          Conclusion

          Our findings support the impression that child emotional experiences in vulnerable family situations transcend culture and are associated with the particular behavior of significant adults in the child's life. The primacy of the mother's influence has implications for interventions to improve the psychological functioning of children in such families. Mental health education for these families has the potential to help those in difficulty.

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          Most cited references45

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          The development of a Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale.

          Several interviews are available for assessing PTSD. These interviews vary in merit when compared on stringent psychometric and utility standards. Of all the interviews, the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-1) appears to satisfy these standards most uniformly. The CAPS-1 is a structured interview for assessing core and associated symptoms of PTSD. It assesses the frequency and intensity of each symptom using standard prompt questions and explicit, behaviorally-anchored rating scales. The CAPS-1 yields both continuous and dichotomous scores for current and lifetime PTSD symptoms. Intended for use by experienced clinicians, it also can be administered by appropriately trained paraprofessionals. Data from a large scale psychometric study of the CAPS-1 have provided impressive evidence of its reliability and validity as a PTSD interview.
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            Psychometric properties of the PTSD checklist (PCL)

            The psychometric properties of the PTSD Checklist (PCL), a new, brief, self-report instrument, were determined on a population of 40 motor vehicle accident victims and sexual assault victims using diagnoses and scores from the CAPS (Clinician Administered PTSD Scale) as the criteria. For the PCL as a whole, the correlation with the CAPS was 0.929 and diagnostic efficiency was 0.900 versus CAPS. Examination of the individual items showed wide ranging values of individual item correlations ranging from 0.386 to 0.788, and with diagnostic efficiencies of 0.700 or better for symptoms. We support the value of the PCL as a brief screening instrument for PTSD.
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              Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health
                Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
                BioMed Central
                1753-2000
                2008
                29 May 2008
                : 2
                : 12
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Psychology, College of Education, Public Authority for Applied Education and Training, Kuwait, P.O. Box 117, Safat, 13002, Kuwait
                [2 ]Department of Psychiatry, Psychological Medicine Hospital, Gamal Abdul Naser Road, P.O. Box 4081, Safat, 13041, Kuwait
                Article
                1753-2000-2-12
                10.1186/1753-2000-2-12
                2423353
                18510770
                409cc658-84a6-4263-a7d7-f7353f13858a
                Copyright © 2008 Al-Turkait and Ohaeri; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 18 February 2008
                : 29 May 2008
                Categories
                Research

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry

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