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A Teacher-Delivered Intervention for Adolescents Exposed to Ongoing and Intense Traumatic War-Related Stress: A Quasi-Randomized Controlled Study
Berger, Rony
Gelkopf, Marc
Heineberg, Yotam
Journal of Adolescent Health, 51(5), pp 453-461, 2012-11
Purpose: For the past 8 years, the residents of Sderot-a town in southern Israel-have been exposed to ongoing and intense war-related threat due to daily rocket attacks and mortar shelling from the adjacent Gaza region. This study first evaluates the prevalence of posttraumatic symptomatology in a sample of seventh-and eighth-grade students, and then assesses the efficacy of a universal teacher-delivered skill-oriented and present-focused intervention in preventing and reducing adolescents%26apos; posttraumatic stress-related symptoms. %26lt;br%26gt;Method: In a quasi-randomized controlled trial, 154 seventh-and eighth-grade students with significant levels of war-related exposure were assigned to participate in either a manualized active 16-session intervention (Extended Enhancing Resiliency Amongst Students Experiencing Stress, ERASE-Stress) or a waiting-list control group. They were assessed using self-report measures before and after the intervention on posttraumatic stress-related symptoms, somatic complaints, functional impairment, and anxiety. %26lt;br%26gt;Results: At baseline, 43.5% were found to have a likely diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder. A month after the intervention ended, students in the active intervention showed statistically significant reduction on all outcome measures compared with those in the waiting-list control group. %26lt;br%26gt;Conclusions: Extended ERASE-Stress-a universal teacher-delivered skill-oriented program not targeting traumatic memories and involving trained and supervised homeroom teachers-may help students suffering from significant war-related posttraumatic symptoms reduce their level of symptomatology and can serve as an important and effective component of a community mental health policy for communities affected by chronic trauma, such as war and terrorism.
School-based interventions; Teacher-delivered interventions; War; Terrorism; PTSD; Anxiety; Somatization; Trauma; Community interventions
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