Some clinical characteristics of children who survived the Marmara earthquakes
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- Demir, T., Demir, D.E., Alkas, L. et al. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry (2010) 19: 125. doi:10.1007/s00787-009-0048-1
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The Marmara earthquakes occurred in the Marmara Region (North West) of Turkey in 1999 and resulted in a death toll of approximately 20,000. This paper investigates the relationships between diagnoses and certain variables in children who developed emotional and/or behavioral disturbances in the aftermath of the Marmara earthquakes and were subsequently seen at a child psychiatry outpatient clinic. The variables evaluated are gender, age, the location where the earthquake was experienced, and the degree of losses, bodily injuries, and damage to the residence. Medical records of 321 children and adolescents ranging in age from 2 to 15 years who presented at the clinic due to problems associated with the earthquake between August 1999 and February 2000 were reviewed. Of the patients, 25.5% were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 16.5% with acute stress disorder (ASD) and 38% with adjustment disorder. No relationship is found between gender and diagnosis. Younger age groups tended to be diagnosed with adjustment disorder. Those who had lost relatives, friends or neighbors were more frequently diagnosed with ASD or PTSD. The same was true for children whose residence was heavily damaged. Children and adolescents constitute the age group that is most severely affected by natural disasters and display significant emotional–behavioral disturbances. The frequency of ASD and PTSD found in our study is considerably high. Although rarely mentioned in the literature, adjustment disorder appears to be one of the most common reactions of children to trauma.