School-based intervention for prevention and treatment of elementary-students' terror-related distress in Israel: A quasi-randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

A school-based intervention for preventing and reducing children's posttraumatic stress-related symptoms, somatic complaints, functional impairment, and anxiety due to exposure to terrorism was evaluated. In a quasi-randomized controlled trial, elementary school students were randomly assigned to an eight-session structured program, “Overshadowing the Threat of Terrorism” or to a waiting list control comparison group. Two months postintervention, the study group reported significant improvement on all measures. The authors conclude that a school-based universal intervention may significantly reduce posttraumatic stress disorder- (PTSD-) related symptoms in children repeatedly exposed to terrorist attacks and propose that it serve as a component of a public mental health approach dealing with children exposed to ongoing terrorism in a country ravaged by war and terrorism.

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