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Can a Healing Camp Boost Posttraumatic Growth among Children?. Irene Searles McClatchey, PhD, LCSW Camp MAGIK/Kennesaw State University. Resilience. Resilience – exhibited by those who do deal with a trauma without developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms

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can a healing camp boost posttraumatic growth among children

Can a Healing Camp Boost Posttraumatic Growth among Children?

Irene Searles McClatchey, PhD, LCSW

Camp MAGIK/Kennesaw State University

resilience
Resilience
  • Resilience – exhibited by those who do deal with a trauma without developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms
  • Exhibit problem-solving abilities, self-esteem
  • Sense of competence
  • Focus on the present and the future – repressing coping style
posttraumatic growth ptg
Posttraumatic Growth (PTG)
  • Develop PTSD or PTSD symptoms
  • Grows from the experience:
    • New appreciation for life
    • Sees new possibilities
    • More compassion for others
posttraumatic growth cont
Posttraumatic Growth, cont.
  • The trauma itself does not create PTG – it is the struggle these children experience afterwards to try to understand the experience and to accept their new reality that creates PTG

(Norwegian study)

resilience and ptg in a nutshell
Resilience and PTG in a Nutshell
  • Resilience lets children who have experienced traumatic events to adapt well in spite of the traumatic event
  • PTG involves a positive alteration created by the traumatic event and subsequent struggles
sample
Sample
  • Children and adolescents ages six-18
  • Recruited through the school system (purposive sample)
  • Expected losses included cancer; liver and respiratory failure; end-stage heart disease; multi-system failure (35%)
  • Sudden or violent losses included murder; suicide; heart attacks; drowning; car accidents; and routine surgery (65%)
sample cont
Sample, cont.
  • 65 campers were pre-tested using the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory for Children (PTGI-C)
    • Gender:
      • Males 49%
      • Females 51%
    • Ethnicities
      • White 62%
      • African American 35%
      • Latino 3%
sample cont1
Sample, cont.
  • Type of loss
    • Father 46%
    • Mother 26%
    • Guardian grandparent 9%
    • Sibling 19%
  • Age
    • 6 – 18
    • Mean 11.3 (SD=2.8)
  • Time since loss
    • 1-48 months
    • Mean 12.4 (SD=13.4)
instrumentation
Instrumentation
  • Posttraumatic Growth Inventory for Children (PTGI-C) developed by Cryder, Kilmer, Tedeschi, & Calhoun
    • Self report
    • Likert scale
      • 1(Not at all true for me)
      • 4 (Very true for me)
    • Cronbach’s alpha 0.89
instrumentation cont
Instrumentation, cont.
  • 21 questions, five domains
    • New possibilities – “I have new things that I like to do”
    • Relating to others – “I learned that some people will be there for me and help me if something bad happens”
    • Personal strength – “I learned that I can handle my problems”
    • Appreciation for life – “I feel like each day is important”
    • Spiritual change – “My spiritual/religious beliefs are stronger now”
the intervention
The Intervention
  • Trauma Informed Care in a Camp Setting
    • Telling of their stories (exposure)
    • Coping skills
    • Relaxation and breathing exercises
    • Cognitive restructuring
  • Other Activities
    • Identification of feelings
    • Journaling
    • Art work
    • Traditional camp activities
results
Results
  • 32 campers completed the posttest (49%)
  • Paired samples t-test
  • Mean pre-test score=57 (SD=22.77)
  • Mean posttest score=68.28 (SD=10.28)
  • Statistically significant at the .05 level (p=0.013)
results cont
Results, cont.
  • Predictors of PTG using multiple regression:
    • Objective trauma experience (p<0.01)
    • Age only if used as a single variable (p<0.05)
limitations
Limitations
  • Design does not control for threats to internal validity (history, testing, maturation, dropout)
  • External validity – results cannot be generalized
implications for research and practice
Implications for Research and Practice
  • Use of a controlled study
  • Larger and more diverse sample
  • Provide trauma-informed care to children bereaved by trauma
references
References
  • Brewer, J., & Sparkes, A. C. (2011). Parentally bereaved children and posttraumatic growth: Insights from an ethnographic study of a UK childhood bereavement service. Mortality, 16(3), 204-222.
  • Brown, A. C., Sandler, I., Tein, J., Liu, X., & Haine, R. (2007). Implications of parental suicide and violent death for promotion of resilience of parentally-bereaved children. Death Studies, 31(4), 301-335.
  • Brown, A. C., Sandler, I., Tein, J., Liu, X., & Haine, R. (2007). Implications of parental suicide and violent death for promotion of resilience of parentally-bereaved children. Death Studies, 31(4), 301-335.
  • Cryder, C. H., Kilmer, R. P., Tedeschi, R. G., & Calhoun, L. G. (2006). An exploratory study of posttraumatic growth in children following a natural disaster. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 76(1), 65-69.
  • McClatchey, I. S., Barefoot, N. (2014). Can trauma-focused care improve posttraumatic growth – A pilot study. Under review.
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