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Effect of calligraphy training on hyperarousal symptoms for childhood survivors of the 2008 China earthquakes

Authors Zhu Z, Wang R, Kao HSR, Zong Y, Liu Z, Tang S, Xu M, Liu ICY, Lam SPW

Received 26 September 2013

Accepted for publication 7 February 2014

Published 3 June 2014 Volume 2014:10 Pages 977—985

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S55016

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 6

Zhuohong Zhu,1 Richu Wang,1 Henry SR Kao,2 Yan Zong,3 Zhengkui Liu,1 Shan Tang,1 Min Xu,4 Ivy CY Liu,5 Stewart PW Lam6

1Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, People's Republic of China; 2Department of Psychology, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 3Sichuan Judicial and Police Officers Professional College, Deyang, Sichuan, People's Republic of China; 4Department of Linguistics, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 5Department of Psychology, Fu Jen Catholic University, New Taipei, Taiwan; 6International Society of Calligraphy Therapy, Hong Kong

Background: This study investigated the treatment effects of calligraphy therapy on childhood survivors of the 2008 Sichuan earthquakes in the People's Republic of China.
Methods: In experiment 1, 129 children participated in a 30-day calligraphic training, and 81 children were controls. The Children's Revised Impact of Event Scale was adopted to assess behavioral effects. Experiment 2 involved 41 treatment subjects and 39 controls, with the same procedure as in experiment 1 except that salivary cortisol level was also measured as a physiological indicator.
Results: After 30 days of calligraphy treatment, the arousal symptoms and salivary cortisol levels in the experimental group decreased from 5.72±0.31 and 13.34±2.88 to 4.98±0.31 and 9.99±2.81, respectively. In the control group, there was not a significant decrease from pretest to post-test. In addition, the arousal scores in posttest (4.98±4.39) were significantly lower than midtest (5.71±4.14) for girls; in contrast, for boys, posttest (4.90±4.24) showed little change compared with midtest (5.04±4.36), but both were significantly lower than pretest (6.42±4.59).
Conclusions: Calligraphy therapy was effective in reducing hyperarousal symptoms among child survivors.

Keywords: PTSD, calligraphy therapy, salivary cortisol, China earthquakes

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