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Study: Treating post-traumatic stress first helps children overcome grief
Date:4/8/2008

Athens, Ga. Post traumatic stress disorder is commonly thought to effect victims of major trauma and those who witness violence, but a new University of Georgia study finds that it also can effect children who have lost a parent expectedly to diseases such as cancer.

The finding, scheduled to be published in the May issue of the journal Research on Social Work Practice, has major implications for helping children cope with grief, said lead author Rene Searles McClatchey.

Often children who have lost a parent are given grief therapy, and weve found that grief therapy doesnt help if you dont take care of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms first, said McClatchey, an adjunct professor in the UGA School of Social Work. McClatchey co-authored the study with UGA associate professor Elizabeth Vonk and University of California, Riverside assistant professor Gregory Palardy.

McClatchey is also founder and director of Camp Magik, a non-profit organization that provides weekend camps for children that blend traditional camp activities such as canoeing and hiking with therapy for PTSD and grief. McClatchey and her colleagues studied 100 children to test the effectiveness of the camp-based intervention.

They found that:

  • The odds of continuing to experience severe PTSD were 4.5 times higher for children who did not attend the camp compared to those who did; and
  • The odds of experiencing severe grief were 3.6 times greater for children who did not attend the camp than for those who did.

McClatchey said that in addition to showing that camp-based interventions work, the study found a link between post-traumatic stress disorder and grief. She explains that a previous study she conducted in 2005 in which children attended camp and underwent grief counseling without PTSD treatment found that the children didnt improve or, in some cases, fared worse after the camp.

Delving into thei
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Contact: Sam Fahmy
sfahmy@uga.edu
706-542-5361
University of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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