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Long-Term Effects of the Terrorist Attack in Beslan on Adolescent Survivors

J Clin Psychiatry 2009;70(6):934-934 [letter]
10.4088/JCP.08lr04750

Letter to the Editor

Sir: The important study by Moscardino et al. showed that adolescents who survived the Beslan terrorist attack (North Ossetia) did not report more overall levels of psychological distress (as measured with the Brief Symptom Inventory 18 and Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire) 18 months after the event than a group of adolescents who were not in the school during the attack.

The authors conclude that these findings are in line with previous research suggesting that both directly and indirectly exposed children are at risk of developing adverse psychological symptoms after terrorism-induced trauma. However, a nonexposed control group was not included. Since the “normal” level of psychological distress among comparable nonexposed adolescents is unknown, this limitation severely hinders firm conclusions about the possible mid-term effects of the terrorist attack and may overestimate adverse affects.