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In the Longmenshan seismic fault zone in the Sichuan province of China, many children and adolescents have been exposed to the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake and/or the 2013 Lushan earthquake, and many are left alone for extended periods by parents who migrate to larger cities for work. We wished to examine how these two kinds of trauma-earthquake exposure and left-behind status-influence severity of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depressive reactions. A cross-sectional survey of 2447 adolescents aged 13-18 at 11 schools in three cities in the Longmenshan fault zone was conducted in 2016. Potential relationships of scores on the Children's Revised Impact of Event Scale (CRIES-13) and the Depression Self-Rating Scale (KADS-6) with severity of PTSD and depression symptoms were explored using ANOVA and multiple hierarchical linear regression. Prevalence of post-traumatic stress and depression symptoms were higher among left-behind children than among those not left behind, and both types of symptoms were more severe in children exposed to both earthquakes than in children exposed only to the Lushan earthquake. Our results suggest that earthquake exposure is a strong risk factor for PTSD, whereas being left behind is a strong risk factor for depression.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Psychiatry research
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