<p>Abstract Background The North-Eastern part of Sri Lanka had already been affected by civil war when the 2004 Tsunami wave hit the region, leading to high rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children. In the acute aftermath of the Tsunami we tested the efficacy of two pragmatic short-term interventions when applied by trained local counselors. Methods A randomized treatment comparison was implemented in a refugee camp in a severely affected community. 31 children who presented with a preliminary diagnosis of PTSD were randomly assigned either to six sessions Narrative Exposure Therapy for children (KIDNET) or six sessions of meditation-relaxation (MED-RELAX). Outcome measures included severity of PTSD symptoms, level of functioning and physical health. Results In both treatment conditions, PTSD symptoms and impairment in functioning were significantly reduced at one month post-test and remained stable over time. At 6 months follow-up, recovery rates were 81% for the children in the KIDNET group and 71% for those in the MED-RELAX group. There was no significant difference between the two therapy groups in any outcome measure. Conclusion As recovery rates in the treatment groups exceeded the expected rates of natural recovery, the study provides preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of NET as well as meditation-relaxation techniques when carried out by trained local counselors for the treatment of PTSD in children in the direct aftermath of mass disasters.</p>
This preliminary study examined whether the practice of mind–body techniques decreases symptoms of posttraumatic stress in adolescents. Posttraumatic Stress Reaction Index questionnaires were collected from 139 high school students in Kosovo who participated in a 6-week program that included meditation, biofeedback, drawings, autogenic training, guided imagery, genograms, movement, and breathing techniques. Three separate programs were held approximately 2 months apart. There was no control group. Posttraumatic stress scores significantly decreased after participation in the programs. These scores remained decreased in the 2 groups that participated in the follow-up study when compared to pretest measures. These data indicate that mind–body skills groups were effective in reducing posttraumatic stress symptoms in war-traumatized high school students.
<p>The latest research work showed a clear increase in stress consequences for younger children related to experience, behaviour and health (among other things, fear to fail and psychosomatic disorders). In contrast, only a few stress‐handling programmes are available specifically for children; a large part covers stress‐handling training courses orientated to behaviour and cognition. The aim of the Training of Relaxation with Elements of Yoga for Children technique introduced and evaluated is the communication of self‐control and relaxation based on experience using breathing exercises, imagination journeys and specifically selected yoga techniques for children. This stress‐handling programme has been investigated by means of a test/control/group design with 48 pupils of the fifth grade. During a pre/post comparison with three measuring times one could give proof that the training will increase emotional balance in the long term and reduce fears. Feelings of helplessness and aggression were clearly reduced. Beyond this, the participants transferred the learned breathing techniques and self‐instructions to situations beyond school, in order to relax after the lessons, to improve well‐being and to control negative feelings. The effects found out here indicate that yoga is suited for children as an independent control method.</p>