The prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among sexually abused children seen at the gender based violence recovery centre at Kenyatta national hospital (knh
Introduction: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder develops following some stressful events. There has been increasing recognition that children who have been exposed to traumatic events like child sexual abuse can develop post-traumatic stress disorder just like adults. Objective: To determine prevalence of PTSD in sexually abused children seen at the Gender Based Violence Recovery Centre at Kenyatta National Hospital. Research design: A cross sectional descriptive study of the prevalence of PTSD among the sexually abused children as seen at Gender Based Violence Recovery Centre at Kenyatta National Hospital. Study site: Gender Based Violence Recovery Centre – Kenyatta National Hospital. Study Population: Sexually abused children seen at the GBVRC-KNH. Sampling Procedure: Study participants were selected using purposive sampling Study Instruments: Socio-demographic Questionnaire, Sexual Abuse Profile, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder index for DSM-IV, and Art Assessment for Children. Data Management and Analysis: Data was analyzed by use of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 15. Results: One hundred and forty-nine (n = 149) sexually abused children were recruited in the study where by 127 (85.2%) were females. The mean age of the children was 13.2 years (SD 4.2) and the age at which sexual abuse most frequently (55%) occurred between 15-17 years. Sixty three percent of children reported that the perpetrator was known to them, and 76.5% of perpetrators used verbal or physical force during sexual assault. The prevalence of PTSD among the sexually abused children was 49% (n = 73). PTSD was significantly associated with duration of sexual abuse (p = 0.005), severity of injuries sustained during assault (p = 0.023), parent’s marital status (p = 0.003) and the family's way of sorting out their disagreements (p < 0.001). Findings from art assessment of 38 (25.5%) children’s drawings showed emotional disturbance commonly manifesting as impulsive behavior (10.5%), mixed feelings (10.5%), and aggression or hostility (7.9%). Conclusions: This study highlights the high prevalence of PTSD among sexually abused children. PTSD is associated with the degree of physical or verbal abuse during sexual abuse, injuries during assault, and parent-child relationships. These findings are important in formulation of appropriate prevention and care interventions to be implemented by families and other stakeholders.
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