Grieving kids may also have PTSD

April 10, 2008 at 12:37 PM
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ATHENS, Ga., April 10 (UPI) -- A University of Georgia study said children who have lost a parent to diseases such as cancer can suffer post-traumatic stress disorder.

Study co-author Rene Searles McClatchey said she found grief therapy to children whose parent died doesn't help if the post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms aren't dealt with first.

McClatchey is founder and director of Camp Magik -- a non-profit organization that provides weekend camps for children that blend camp activities such as hiking with therapy for PTSD and grief.

McClatchey and colleagues studied 100 children to test the effectiveness of a camp-based PTSD intervention and found the odds of continuing to experience severe PTSD were 4.5 times higher for children who did not attend the camp compared to those who did.

The study, published in Research on Social Work Practice, found the odds of experiencing severe grief were 3.6 times greater for children who did not attend the camp than for those who did.

The study showed camp-based interventions work and found a link between PTSD and grief. A previous study conducted in 2005 in which children attended camp and underwent grief counseling without PTSD treatment found the children did not improve or, in some cases, fared worse.

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