Adolescent vulnerability to PTSD and effects of community-based intervention: Longitudinal study among adolescent survivors of the Ehime Maru sea accident

Authors

  • Masaharu Maeda md, phd,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Neuropsychiatry, Kurume University, School of Medicine, Kurume and
      *Masaharu Maeda, MD, PhD, Kurume University, School of Medicine, Department of Neuropsychiatry, 67 Asahi-machi, Kurume 830-0011, Japan. Email: maeda_masaharu@kurume-u.ac.jp
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  • Hiroshi Kato md, phd,

    1. Hyogo Institute for Traumatic Stress, Wakinohama-Kaigandori, Kobe, Japan
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  • Takayuki Maruoka md, phd

    1. Department of Neuropsychiatry, Kurume University, School of Medicine, Kurume and
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*Masaharu Maeda, MD, PhD, Kurume University, School of Medicine, Department of Neuropsychiatry, 67 Asahi-machi, Kurume 830-0011, Japan. Email: maeda_masaharu@kurume-u.ac.jp

Aims

The aim of the present study was to examine the psychological impact on adolescent survivors of a maritime disaster that resulted in the deaths of nine people, including four high school students, and the effects of psychiatric intervention for the survivors.

Methods:  Long-term multidimensional intervention consisting of psychoeducation, hospital treatment, family support and day care, was provided for nine adolescent survivors. To evaluate these effects, the survivors were also assessed using self-rating scales (Impact of Event Scale, General Health Questionnaire and Self-rating Depression Scale) and psychiatric structured interviews (Clinician-Administered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD] Scale) at 2, 8, 14, 26, and 38 months after the accident.

Results:  Prevalence of PTSD among adolescent survivors was much higher than in adult survivors at the 2-month examination (78% vs 12%, respectively). Although the observed prevalence remained high until the 14-month examination, remarkable improvement occurred thereafter and none was diagnosed with PTSD at the 38-month examination.

Conclusion:  Adolescents may have a specific vulnerability to PTSD and community-based intervention is effective for adolescents with serious symptoms of PTSD.

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