The aim of this study was to investigate posttraumatic stress reactions in children exposed to bombardment and air raids, and compare observations and interpretations of childrens posttraumatic stress reactions in earlier and recent literature.
Data was obtained from preexisting literature, articles and written books, published in the 1940s and by a systematic research predominantly carried out in the following databases: Psyc Info, Pub Med and Embase.
Children may show severe signs of fear and horror during these traumatic events, and later display posttraumatic stress reactions of reexperiencing, avoidance, numbing and hyperarousal. Severity of the air raid and the proximity of exposure are positively correlated to the risk of subsequent PTSD. Previous studies emphasized preexisting variables (such as the personality of the child) as contributing factors of posttraumatic stress symptoms, which might underestimate the impact of the traumatic events. However, many of the documented symptoms observed in earlier studies concurred with the symptoms of PTSD described in recent studies.
Primarily, the findings underscore that previous studies and current research document a wide range of posttraumatic symptoms of stress, anxiety and somatic complaints in children after bombardment and air raids. Secondly they draw attention to the value of prospective studies on war- traumatized children and emphasize the importance of a thorough follow- up of children exposed to air raids and bombardment.