From War to Classroom: PTSD and Depression in Formerly Abducted Youth in Uganda

Winkler N, Ruf-Leuschner M, Ertl V, Pfeiffer A, Schalinski I, Ovuga E, Neuner F, Elbert T (2015)
Frontiers in Psychiatry 6.

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Abstract
BACKGROUND: Trained local screeners assessed the mental-health status of male and female students in Northern Ugandan schools. The study aimed to disclose potential differences in mental health-related impairment in two groups, former child soldiers (n = 354) and other war-affected youth (n = 489), as well as to separate factors predicting mental suffering in learners. METHODS: Participants were randomly selected. We used the Post-Traumatic Diagnostic Scale to assess symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and for potential depression the respective section of the Hopkins Symptom Checklist with a locally validated cut-off. RESULTS: Almost all respondents had been displaced at least once in their life. 30% of girls and 50% of the boys in the study reported past abduction history. Trauma exposure was notably higher in the group of abductees. In former child soldiers, a PTSD rate of 32% was remarkably higher than that for non-abductees (12%). Especially in girls rates of potential depression were double those in the group of former abductees (17%) than in the group of non-abductees (8%). In all groups, trauma exposure increased the risk of developing PTSD. A path-analytic model for developing PTSD and potential depression revealed both previous trauma exposure as well as duration of abduction to have significant influences on trauma-related mental suffering. Findings also suggest that in Northern Ugandan schools trauma spectrum disorders are common among war-affected learners. CONCLUSIONS: Therefore, it is suggested the school context should be used to provide mental-health support structures within the education system for war-affected youth at likely risk of developing war-related mental distress.
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Winkler N, Ruf-Leuschner M, Ertl V, et al. From War to Classroom: PTSD and Depression in Formerly Abducted Youth in Uganda. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2015;6.
Winkler, N., Ruf-Leuschner, M., Ertl, V., Pfeiffer, A., Schalinski, I., Ovuga, E., Neuner, F., et al. (2015). From War to Classroom: PTSD and Depression in Formerly Abducted Youth in Uganda. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 6.
Winkler, N., Ruf-Leuschner, M., Ertl, V., Pfeiffer, A., Schalinski, I., Ovuga, E., Neuner, F., and Elbert, T. (2015). From War to Classroom: PTSD and Depression in Formerly Abducted Youth in Uganda. Frontiers in Psychiatry 6.
Winkler, N., et al., 2015. From War to Classroom: PTSD and Depression in Formerly Abducted Youth in Uganda. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 6.
N. Winkler, et al., “From War to Classroom: PTSD and Depression in Formerly Abducted Youth in Uganda”, Frontiers in Psychiatry, vol. 6, 2015.
Winkler, N., Ruf-Leuschner, M., Ertl, V., Pfeiffer, A., Schalinski, I., Ovuga, E., Neuner, F., Elbert, T.: From War to Classroom: PTSD and Depression in Formerly Abducted Youth in Uganda. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 6, (2015).
Winkler, Nina, Ruf-Leuschner, Martina, Ertl, Verena, Pfeiffer, Anett, Schalinski, Inga, Ovuga, Emilio, Neuner, Frank, and Elbert, Thomas. “From War to Classroom: PTSD and Depression in Formerly Abducted Youth in Uganda”. Frontiers in Psychiatry 6 (2015).
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