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.