Highlights of the European Conference on Traumatic Stress 2019

Didn’t get the chance (like me 😦 ) to attend the conference of the European Society of Traumatic Stress Studies this year?  

Maya Meentken and Marie-Louise Kullberg help us out!

We are Maya and Marie-Louise, two Dutch PhD Candidates, sharing some of our ESTSS conference 2019 – both scientific and non-scientific – highlights with you. It all started on Thursday with the inspiring pre-conference paper-in-a-day workshop: A collaboration of 7 young researchers from Germany, Israel and the Netherlands with an interest in (child) trauma, but with a widely varying focus: From burn injury-related trauma to childhood maltreatment, and an MRI study on dissociation to EMDR for medical-related PTSD.

During this year’s paper-in-a-day, hosted by Anne Krause and Lonneke Lenferink, we focused on child trauma utilizing the data from the Prospective studies of Acute Child Trauma and Recovery (PACT/R) archive. The archive includes data of 32 child trauma studies from e.g. US, UK, Australia, Switzerland, representing data from 5500+ children exposed to a single incident trauma, such as injury, disaster, interpersonal violence etc. and is openly available (!). Throughout the whole day Nancy Kassam-Adams from the PACT/R team joint us to answer all our questions and share her ideas on the rich dataset.

Just a sneak preview of our findings; with a latent class analysis we distinguished three groups based on presence of acute stress disorder symptoms and predicted group membership by several trauma and background characteristics. Discussing the methods and our findings plenary and in subgroups answered many of our questions and generated new ideas. The final paper can be expected soon! To all (early-stage career) researchers: We would highly recommend to participate in a next edition to encourage cross-border collaborations and sharing knowledge. (Eva: yay 🙂 )

On Friday the conference was officially opened with a wonderful performance of the four dancers of Amenti Collective. The next three days, many fantastic keynotes, masterclasses, symposiums, posters and talks followed. Just to mention some of our favorites: Talya Greene’s masterclass on network modeling of PTSD symptoms, the keynote of Mark Jordans on global trauma care and the sharp symposium on early screening for PTSD following emergency department admission by Mirjam van ZuidenJuanita HaagsmaKatharina Schultebraucks and Miranda Olff.

During the ESTSS Young Minds lunch on Saturday we did some speed-dating with other early-stage career researchers from the psychotrauma field. During the ‘speed dates’ we discussed various topics such as ‘life as a PhD student’, supervision, development etc.,  a nice way to meet some peers!

A last impressive program part we would like to mention is the screening of the documentary Reconstructing Utøya by Steffen Svedsen on Sunday. Next to all high-quality clinical and research presentations, the documentary added the compelling perspective of 4 victims from the horrific 2011-event. It gave interesting insights into the different personal perceptions of the event and the long course of recovery afterwards. It made us realize how vulnerable people are, but also how resilient they  can be, which underlines the relevance of all the research we absorbed the past three days.

Thank you to all the presenters and organizers, we’d hope to see you during a next ISTSS/ESTSS conference!

Thanks Maya and Marie-Louise, and everyone who made the ESTSS conference possible this year! The next ESTSS conference will be in Belfast (16-19 June 2021). The theme: Trauma and resilience through the ages: A life course perspective

Maya and Marie-Louise’s blogpost also appeared on the website of the NtVP

ESTSS Young Minds Events

ESTSS BolognaHave you got the conference of the European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies in your diary yet? It is a biannual meeting with a great mix of presentations and workshops. This year it takes place in beautiful Bologna, June 6th – 9th. The theme is “Trauma and its Clinical Pathways: PTSD and Beyond.”

It has two very nice events for early career researchers / professionals: Paper in a Day – after the success at the ISTSS meeting we now also propose it at ESTSS –  and the Young Minds Event, to share your ideas and network with renowned trauma experts.

More details are below, feel free to put any questions about the events in the comments. And please share the invitation with others who may be interested 🙂 Continue reading

Go and collaborate

Child trauma researchers should collaborate more. That was one of the messages of the meta-analysis my colleagues and I recently published. Until now, researchers have conducted a number of interesting studies but these were relatively small and used a wide variety of methods and designs, which doesn’t permit robust conclusions. By combining efforts (see also the ‘data sharing’ page) much more could be known faster.

Our message is still relevant, but there are also some beautiful examples of collaboration. One was presented by Nancy Kassam-Adams at the European Conference on Traumatic Stress Studies. With three colleagues from the US and Australia she is building a large database from datasets of individual researchers: the Child PTSD Prediction Project. The data of  2500 children have been included so far (that’s already 25 times the usual N in a study…). It will enable researchers to answer questions about early risk and protective factors, and about trajectories of posttraumatic stress symptoms in children. Go and collaborate!