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6th International Congress of the WIAMH

Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, August 13-15, 1999.

POSSIBILITY OF RECOVERY OF UNACCOMPANIED MINORS WHO WERE EXPOSED TO WAR ACTIVITIES

Besima ĆATIĆ i Osman SINANOVIĆ

Home for Unaccompanied Minors, Psychiatric Clinic, University Clinical Centre, Faculty of Medicine of the Tuzla University, 75 000 Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The whole population and especially children and civilians were exposed to a long lasting and multiple traumas during the past aggression over Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a consequence of psychological trauma on children, the symptomatology of a wide range is developed and it is predominated by posttraumatic stress disorder and depressive reactions. Unaccompanied minors have significant difficulties in the time of peace and those become more complex in the conditions of war. This paper analyses the effect of organised psychosocial treatment on the level of trauma on eighty refugee children accommodated in the Home for Unaccompanied Minors, and 80 other refugee children who lived with the survived members of their families, but without any organised psychosocial treatment. We used the URT recording of traumatic experience, Birleson’s Scale of Self-evaluation for Determination of the Depression Symptoms and Impact of Event Scale. Both groups of children were previously tested, as soon as their arrived, and before starting of the psychosocial treatment for the children in the Home. They were all also re-tested after one year. Organised psychosocial activities have lead to significant reduction of symptoms of avoiding, intrusiveness and depression at refugee children in the Home. The refugee children living with their families or in refugee camps with no organised psychosocial treatment, have only slightly decreased the symptom of avoiding, but no decrease was seen in intrusiveness and depression.

Key words: Unaccompanied Minors – Refugees – War Trauma – Possibility of Recovery

Reference:

  1. Ćatić B, Sinanović O, Pašagić I (1996) Traumatic reactions of children in a Tuzla orphanage. The Book of Abstracts of the 1st European Conference on Traumatic Stress in Emergency Services, Peacekeeping Operations and Humanitarian Aid Organisations, Sheffield, England, p.8.
  2. Ćatić B (1998) Traumatic Reactions and Possibility of Recovery for Children Exposed to War Activities. Master Thesis, Faculty of Medicine of the Tuzla University. (Mentor: Prof. PhD SCI O.Sinanović)
  3. Husain SA, Cantwell DP (1991) Fundamentals of Child and Adolescent Psychopathology. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press, Inc.
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