Background: The aim of the study was to determine the amount of trauma impact, post-traumatic stress symptoms and current psychopathological distress in a sample of former German children of World War II.
Methods: 93 participants were recruited through the local press, and assessed using the modified Post-traumatic Diagnostic Scale (PDS) and the Symptom Checklist (SCL-90-R).
Results: Subjects reported a high qualitative and quantitative degree of trauma exposure. 13.8% reported PTSD-related symptoms after the war, and 10.8% reported current symptoms. PTSD symptoms after World War II were significantly correlated with current psychopathological distress.
Conclusions: In line with other studies, our data document a high degree of trauma exposure during warchildhood. In comparison with other studies on PTSD in warchildren, there is a persisting high prevalence of war-associated PTSD symptoms in this sample. Despite some methodological limitations, our data underline the urgent need for further studies on the ageing group of former children of World War II.