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Responses Over Time of Child and Adolescent Survivors to the 2008 Wenchuan, China Earthquake

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The posttraumatic psychological symptoms of 188 child and adolescent survivors were investigated at 2 stages after the 2008 earthquake in Wenchuan, China, using the Mental Health Scale (Wo & Liu, 2003) and the Coping Scale (Xiao & Xu, 1996). Results showed that the survivors' mental health and coping styles were significantly different at each stage. Compared to 1 year after, 2 weeks after the earthquake, participants had more severe psychosomatic symptoms in the following items: compulsive reexperiencing, escaping, sensitive, indifferent, easily angry, suicidal, felt guilty, easily fearful, lack of interest, inefficacy, insomnia, decreased appetite, avoiding problems, fantasy, self-blaming, and rationalization. Boys scored higher than girls in the felt lonely and asking for help items in the second week, while girls scored higher than boys in the sensitive, depressed, self-blaming, and rationalization items 1 year after the earthquake. Results suggest that psychologists and social workers should focus on children and adolescents who have experienced traumatic stress and provide them with appropriate mental health interventions.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-08-01

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