As published in the Journal of Depression & Anxiety, researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) found that while fewer than 10 percent (8.4 percent) of the mothers were suffering from PTSD, more than a fifth (21 percent) of their children presented PTSD symptoms.
Researchers also discovered that children who developed PTSD symptoms had more psychosomatic complaints such as constipation, diarrhea and headaches.
“This study reinforces the existing body of knowledge regarding the importance of evaluating and treating parental responses in time of stress,” the researchers explain.
“Parents are often the key to understanding children’s responses generally and specifically in times of stress. The study also highlights the close interrelations between ‘body and soul’ among children and adults.”
In the study, some 160 mothers of preschool children were interviewed about symptoms exhibited by their children and their own responses during Operation Cast Lead.
Residents of Southern Israel experienced the impact of more than 750 rockets (fired from Gaza) from December 2008 to January 2009.
Working with the Preschool Psychiatric Unit at Soroka University Medical Center, the BGU researchers examined the relationship between PTSD symptoms and socio-demographic, family attributes and psychosomatic symptoms among children exposed to Grad missile attacks.