lancet-header

Preprints with The Lancet is part of SSRN´s First Look, a place where journals identify content of interest prior to publication. Authors have opted in at submission to The Lancet family of journals to post their preprints on Preprints with The Lancet. The usual SSRN checks and a Lancet-specific check for appropriateness and transparency have been applied. Preprints available here are not Lancet publications or necessarily under review with a Lancet journal. These preprints are early stage research papers that have not been peer-reviewed. The findings should not be used for clinical or public health decision making and should not be presented to a lay audience without highlighting that they are preliminary and have not been peer-reviewed. For more information on this collaboration, see the comments published in The Lancet about the trial period, and our decision to make this a permanent offering, or visit The Lancet´s FAQ page, and for any feedback please contact preprints@lancet.com.

Research Paper When Home is No Longer a Safe Place – Symptoms of Anxiety, Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress in Children Exposed to Earthquakes in Zagreb During the COVID-19 Pandemic

18 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2021

See all articles by Gordana Buljan Flander

Gordana Buljan Flander

Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center

Gzim Redžepi

University Hospital Centre Zagreb

Tea Brezinšćak

Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center

Ella Selak Bagarić

Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center

Justin E. Lane

ALAN Analytics

Igor Mikloušić

Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar

Bruce F. Chorpita

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Cedric Sachser

University of Ulm - Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

More...

Abstract

Background: The capital of Croatia was hit by several earthquakes during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, simultaneously introducing two sources of stressors to the same cohort. This study aimed to determine the individual and joint effects on children’s mental health.

Methods: The study comprised a web-based survey for parents (N = 22,202), deployed in February 2021. Exposure to COVID-19 and earthquake related stressors were assessed using scales constructed for this study and symptoms of posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTS) and anxiety/depression were assessed using the CATS-C and RCADS-25-P. Demographic data were used to assess the effects of gender and age. Regression analyses were conducted to identify and evaluate predictors of PTS and anxiety/depression and test for possible interactions between pandemic-related and earthquake-related factors.

Findings: Results indicate that impaired mental health is more likely among girls, children who were affected by earthquake and suffered more home damage, and those who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or have a family member at risk. Further, anxiety/depression symptoms were higher among children whose family member was self-isolated and whose homes were more damaged.

Interpretation: Our findings link earthquake exposure and pandemic related stressors to symptoms of PTS, anxiety, and depression. It demonstrated limited interactions of both stressors on children’s mental health. The risk was higher for girls and no age differences were found. Future studies should expand the aspects of both resilience and risk factors, allowing for development of effective intervention strategies.

Funding: The study was self-funded by the authors.

Declaration of Interest: The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval: The study design was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Centre, Ministry of Education and Croatian Education and Teacher Training Agency

Suggested Citation

Buljan Flander, Gordana and Redžepi, Gzim and Brezinšćak, Tea and Selak Bagarić, Ella and Lane, Justin E. and Mikloušić, Igor and Chorpita, Bruce F. and Sachser, Cedric, Research Paper When Home is No Longer a Safe Place – Symptoms of Anxiety, Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress in Children Exposed to Earthquakes in Zagreb During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3896331 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3896331

Gordana Buljan Flander (Contact Author)

Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center ( email )

Gzim Redžepi

University Hospital Centre Zagreb ( email )

Zagreb
Croatia

Tea Brezinšćak

Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center ( email )

Ella Selak Bagarić

Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center ( email )

Justin E. Lane

ALAN Analytics ( email )

Bratislava
Slovakia

Igor Mikloušić

Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar ( email )

204. vukovarske brigade 6
Vukovar, 32000
Croatia

Bruce F. Chorpita

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

Cedric Sachser

University of Ulm - Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy ( email )

Germany

Click here to go to TheLancet.com

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
302
Downloads
37
PlumX Metrics