Tested hypotheses about the role of social support in the relation between trauma from the Gulf crisis experience and psychological or health distress 2 years after the crisis. Participants were 151 Kuwaiti boys and girls exposed to high or low levels of trauma during the crisis. Participants were administered the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Index (PTSDI), Children's Depression Inventory (CDI), and measures of social support and health complaints. Children exposed to high levels of trauma had higher PTSDI and CDI scores and more health complaints than controls. Social support did not mediate the relation between trauma and distress. However, social support and sex functioned jointly as moderators of trauma on distress. Social support was shown to buffer the effect of trauma in girls but not in boys. Boys, however, reported lower levels of support than girls. The findings underscore the importance of the appropriate model specification in studies of stress and social support.
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