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Evaluation of Writing for Recovery

Psychology trainees from the University of Bergen, Ida Lange-Nielsen and Silje Kolltveit plan to use our Writing for Recovery Manual in a trial with adolescents affected by the war in Gaza. The purpose is to reduce post-traumatic stress in adolescents in Gaza and evaluate the effect of the group intervention “Writing for Recovery”.

They will work with Dr. Abdel Thabet, Professor of Child Psychiatry and consultant at the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, who is responsible for implementing the program in cooperation with the Child and Family Training and Counseling Center in Gaza.

A research group at the University of Bergen will assist with scientific evaluation of the psychological interventions. This group consists of Dr. Atle Dyregrov, Professor Ståle Pallesen, Associate Professor Tom Backer Johnsen, Professor Jon Christian Laberg, including the graduate students.

The project was delayed due to the Israeli bombardment which damaged both the schools in which the project was to take place and Dr. Thabet’s clinic. The interventions are scheduled for November and December 2009.

Around 120 participants aged 13-17 will be recruited from four schools in Gaza City. Informed consent will be collected from both the adolescents and their parents. The participants will be randomized into a waiting-list control group or an experimental group. Both groups will undergo an assessment of symptoms of PTSD, anxiety and depression. The following instruments of measurement will be applied for these purposes:

1) Revised Child Impact of Event Scale (CRIES-13).

2) Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale (RCMAS).

3) Depression Self-Rating Scale for Children (DSRS).

After the first assessment of symptoms, the control group will continue with their regular school activities while the intervention “Writing for recovery” will be initiated in the experimental group. The intervention consists of six writing sessions of 15 minutes, over three consecutive days. Three days after the intervention has ended, a new assessment will be conducted in both groups.

18 days after the intervention has been completed for the experimental group, a new assessment will be conducted in both groups to allow evaluation of immediate effects of the program. The following day, the intervention will be initiated in the control group. New assessments will be conducted in this group three days after and 18 days after the intervention has been completed.

A final assessment of symptoms will be conducted five months later to evaluate the long term effects of the intervention. The final data collection will take place in June 2010.

Contact person: Ida Lange-Nielsen  ila07[at]student.uib.no.