Posttraumatic, Dissociative and Grief Symptoms in Turkish Children Exposed to the 1999 Earthquakes

Abstract: Grief and dissociation after traumatic exposures are among the most important predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This article introduces the Traumatic Dissociation and Grief Scale (TDGS), a 23-item measure easily adminis- tered. The TDGS, the Child PTSD-Reaction Index (CPTSD-RI), and a questionnaire concerning risk factors related to the event (losses, injury, and witnessing death and injuries) were administered to school-aged children who had been directly exposed to the 1999 earthquakes in Turkey and to a nonexposed control group. Factor analysis of the TDGS yielded four factors: perceptual distortions, body-self distor- tions, irritability, and guilt and anhedonia. A moderate positive correlation was noted between the TDGS and the CPTSD-RI. Different sets of risk factors were associated with the different scale factors. The results suggest that the assessment of psychopathology in children following a disaster requires the complementary evaluation of symptoms of posttrauma, dissociation, and grief.