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

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Letter to the Editor

Sir: Van der Velden and Yzermans have raised several issues regarding the long-term psychological effects of the 2004 terrorist attack in Beslan on directly and indirectly exposed adolescent survivors. They express concern that the absence of a nonexposed control group and preattack data on participants’ psychological functioning hinders any conclusion about the course or development of general psychological problems in this population.

Previous research has shown that adolescents who have had high levels of exposure to terrorism in terms of physical, temporal, and emotional proximity (e.g., loss of loved ones) are at increased risk of developing adverse reactions to trauma and that youths who are indirectly exposed to a violent event may also manifest symptoms of anxiety and depression.

J Clin Psychiatry 2009;70(6):934-935