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Family violence and post-traumatic stress disorder in children of a Brazilian city
  1. L F Ximenes*,
  2. S Gonalves de Assis,
  3. R de Vasconcelos,
  4. Carvalhaes de Oliveira,
  5. J Q Avanci
  1. Correspondence Centro Latino-Americano de Estudos de Violncia e Sade / Escola Nacional de Sade Pblica / Fundao Oswaldo Cruz, Avenida Brasil, 4036 - Sala 700- Manguinhos - Rio de Janeiro - RJ 21040-361, Brazil

Abstract

The objective of this study was to investigate the association of family violence to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in school children of a Brazilian city, in 2005. The sample consisted of 500 children with 6 to 13 years old and the respondents were their caretakers. To assess PTSD was used the child behaviour checklist- PTSD (Ruggiero e Mcleer, 2000), and the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS) to evaluate family violence (Straus, 1979). The results show that violence practiced by the mother is associated to PTSD symptoms in children. Almost 17% of these children who were victims of it presented clinical and borderline symptoms of PTSD. Mothers verbal aggression and mothers severe violence are associated to children PTSD symptoms (OR: 6.091, p=0.012; OR=5.777, p=0.001; respectively). The violence committed by the father is not associated with the studied symptoms. Otherwise, to witness father violence against to the mother is associated with PTSD in children (9.9%, p<0.001). The physical and verbal violence between siblings is associated with PTSD symptoms in children (14.4%, p<0.001). The physical violence among siblings is a risk factor to the symptoms of PTSD in childhood (OR=2.131, p=0.026). Overall, the prevalence of PTSD is higher in children who suffer domestic violence than those who do not. The results point to the importance of preventing family violence, which reveals a key potential target for early intervention.

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