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Original scientific paper

Surviving genocide in Srebrenica during the early childhood and adolescent personality

Nermina Kravić ; Department of Psychiatry, Tuzla University Clinical Center, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Izet Pajević ; School of Medicine, Tuzla University, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mevludin Hasanović ; School of Medicine, Tuzla University, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina

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page 55-64

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Aim To examine how the experience of genocide in Srebrenica
in the early childhood (ages 1-5) influences the
psychological health in adolescence.
Methods This study included 100 school-attending adolescents,
age 15-16 (born in 1990-91) who were divided
in two groups according to the place of residence from
1992-1995: the Srebrenica group – adolescents who lived
in Srebrenica during the siege and the non-Srebrenica
group who lived in the “free territory,” were not wounded,
and experienced no losses. We used the socio-demographic
questionnaire created for the purposes of our
study and the War Trauma Questionnaire, Posttraumatic
Stress Reactions Questionnaire, Self-report Depressive
Scale (Zung), Freiburg Personality Inventory, and the Lifestyle
Results Srebrenica adolescents experienced significantly
more traumatic experiences (14.26 ± 3.11 vs 4.86 ± 3.16,
P < 0.001). Although there was no significant difference in
the total score of posttraumatic stress reactions and intensity
of depression between the two groups, significantly
higher scores of posttraumatic stress reaction were noticed
for several specific questions. The most prominent
defense mechanisms in both groups were projection, intellectualization,
and reactive formation. Srebrenica adolescents
had higher sociability levels (34.7% vs 16.0%,
χ2 = 7.231, P = 0.020).
Conclusion Srebrenica adolescents reported significantly
more severe PTSD symptoms and significantly greater
sociability. Our findings could be used for planning treatment
and improving communication and overcoming
traumas in war-affected areas.


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