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Traumatic severity and trait resilience as predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder and depressive symptoms among adolescent survivors of the Wenchuan earthquake

Liuhua Ying, Xinchun Wu, Chongde Lin, Lina Jiang
PloS One 2014, 9 (2): e89401
24586751

PURPOSE: To examine the associations between trauma severity, trait resilience, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depressive symptoms among adolescent survivors of the Wenchuan earthquake, China.

METHODS: 788 participants were randomly selected from secondary schools in the counties of Wenchuan and Maoxian, the two areas most severely affected by the earthquake. Participants completed four main questionnaires including the Child PTSD Symptom Scale, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale for Children, the Connor and Davidson's Resilience Scale, and the Severity of Exposure to Earthquake Scale.

RESULTS: After adjusting for the effect of age and gender, four aspects of trauma severity (i.e., direct exposure, indirect exposure, worry about others, and house damage) were positively associated with the severity of PTSD and depressive symptoms, whereas trait resilience was negatively associated with PTSD and depressive symptoms and moderated the relationship between subjective experience (i.e., worry about others) and PTSD and depressive symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Several aspects (i.e., direct exposure, indirect exposure, worry about others, and house damage) of earthquake experiences may be important risk factors for the development and maintenance of PTSD and depression. Additionally, trait resilience exhibits the beneficial impact on PTSD and depressive symptoms and buffers the effect of subjective experience (i.e., worry about others) on PTSD and depressive symptoms.

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