Posttraumatic stress disorder reactions among children with learning disabilities exposed to terror attacks

Ricky Finzi-Dottan, Rachel Dekel, Tamar Lavi, Tzipi Su'Ali

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26 Scopus citations


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reactions were examined among adolescents exposed to terror attacks. In the first stage, 56 children with learning disabilities (LDs) were compared with 48 nonclinical controls aged 14 to 18 years. Posttraumatic stress disorder in children with LD was significantly higher than in the control group. Next, hierarchic regression predicting PTSD reactions among children with LD was performed. Results revealed that personal exposure to terror, past personal threatening life events, avoidant and anxious attachment, and the anxious attachment × threatening past events interaction contributed significantly to the explained variance of PTSD. Examination of the source of this interaction revealed that adolescents high in anxious attachment who underwent more threatening past life events were more prone to PTSD when exposed personally to terror attacks. The findings suggest that adolescents with LD have difficulties in cognitive processing of traumatic events. This group of adolescents is in double jeopardy for developing PTSD symptoms if they personally experienced threatening events in the past and are characterized by anxious attachment. The anxious attachment damages their self-regulation, intensifies their distress, and exacerbates the risk for PTSD. Hence, special attention and specific intervention are needed for youth with LD to enhance their coping strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-151
Number of pages8
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2006


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