Children are at risk for developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to experiencing or living in a disaster area. The factors that increase the likelihood of a child developing PTSD need further clarification. We studied the factors associated with PTSD among children who experienced the tsunami in Sumatra, Indonesia. We conducted a cross sectional study in 2 subdistricts of Sumatra 5 years after experiencing a tsunami. Children aged 7-13 years were enrolled using stratified cluster sampling. A tsunami-modified version of The PsySTART Rapid Triage System was used to question children about their tsunami-specific traumatic experiences. Trauma symptoms were evaluated using the Trauma Symptom Checklist For Children (TSCC). The diagnosis of PTSD was made using the Child PTSD Symptom Scale (CPSS) and DSM-IV criteria. The data were analyzed with chi-square tests and multivariate logistic regression analysis with 95% confidence intervals (CI). A total of 262 children were enrolled in this study. The prevalence of PTSD in these children was 20.6%. On multivariate analysis, having experienced a delay in evacuation (PR=4.5; 95%CI: 2.794-13.80; p<0.001) and being unable to escape (PR=13.07; 95%CI: 5.884-64; p<0.001) were significantly associated with PTSD 5 years after the tsunami. Children who experienced a traumatic event in which they were unable to escape or when there is a delay in evacuation are at risk of developing PTSD and need appropriate treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)918-923
Number of pages6
JournalSoutheast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Children
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Trauma experiences
  • Tsunami


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