Aim: This study aimed to investigate the impact of trauma due to wars on quality of life of Palestine children living in Gaza with special reference to 2009 war.
It is analytic study; the study sample consisted of 195 children and adolescents who were selected purposely from three areas in the Gaza Strip. Those children exposed to variety of traumatic events besides losing their homes during ground incursion of the border and shelling and bombardment of the area. They were 101 boys (51.8%) and 94 girls (48.2%). The age ranged from 7 to 18 years with mean age of 12.84 (SD = 2.9). Children were assessed by socio-demographic questionnaire, Gaza Traumatic Events Checklist, and Health Related Quality of Life.
Results: The highest frequencies of reported traumatic events by Palestinians children were 97.9% hear shelling of the area by artillery, 93.3% hear the sonic sounds of the jetfighters, 90.8% watched mutilated bodies in TV, and 85.6% were forced to move from home to a safer place during the war. The study showed that mean total quality of life was 62.80, physical functioning was 69.87, emotional functioning was 51.96, mean of social functioning was 77.62, and school functioning mean was 47.53. Total traumatic events reported by children were negatively strongly correlated with total Health Related Quality of Lief (HRQoL), physical, emotional, and social functioning. However, traumatic experiences by children were not correlated with school function.
Conclusion: In summary, this study not only supports the findings of the body of research as it relates to traumatic experiences in children and adolescents and impact of their health quality of life, but also has important implications for establishing and implementation of different psychosocial intervention programs for the school-aged population in Gaza Strip. There are need to be considered in the planning of educational and mental health support services by different governmental United Nations organizations, and non-governmental organization in Gaza. Also, successful treatment of the mental health symptoms associated with traumatic events first requires an acknowledgment of the trauma and then a process which allows for comprehensive assessment and accurate diagnosis.
Prof. Abdelaziz Mousa Thabet
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Al-Quds University, School of Public Health, Child Institute, P.O.Box 5314, Gaza, Palestine.
Sanaa S. Thabet
Child and Family Training and Counseling Center-NGO, Palestine.
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