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Comorbidity of posttraumatic stress disorder and depression in tortured, treatment-seeking refugees


Nickerson, Angela; Schick, Matthis; Schnyder, Ulrich; Bryant, Richard A; Morina, Naser (2017). Comorbidity of posttraumatic stress disorder and depression in tortured, treatment-seeking refugees. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 30(4):409-415.

Abstract

Comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression is common in refugee groups; however, little is known about the predictors and correlates of comorbidity in treatment-seeking refugees. Participants in this study were 134 refugees resettled in Switzerland. Most participants were from Turkey, Iran, and Sri Lanka, and 92.7% had been exposed to torture. Self-report measures were implemented to assess PTSD, depression, mental and physical health-related quality of life (QoL), as well as pre- and postmigration experiences. Findings indicated that approximately half the sample met criteria for PTSD and depression, 33.6% met criteria for depression only, and only 2.2% met criteria for PTSD only. Several variables emerged as predictors of comorbidity in contrast to no diagnosis: female gender, odds ratio (OR) = 0.17; age, OR = 0.93; time in Switzerland, OR = 1.16; and trauma exposure, OR = 1.19. Postmigration stress was also associated with greater likelihood of comorbidity compared with no diagnosis, OR = 1.32, and a single diagnosis, OR = 1.14. Further, dual diagnosis was associated with significantly poorer mental health-related and physical health-related QoL (mental health-related QoL: dual diagnosis vs. single diagnosis, d = -0.52 and dual diagnosis vs. no diagnosis, d = -1.30; physical health-related QoL: dual diagnosis vs. single diagnosis, d = -0.73 and dual diagnosis vs. no diagnosis: d = -1.04). Findings indicated that comorbidity was highly prevalent in this sample of treatment-seeking refugees and was associated with a substantial impairment burden. Psychological interventions for refugees should consider the dual impact of PTSD and depression symptoms to optimally decrease distress and improve QoL in this vulnerable group.

Abstract

Comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression is common in refugee groups; however, little is known about the predictors and correlates of comorbidity in treatment-seeking refugees. Participants in this study were 134 refugees resettled in Switzerland. Most participants were from Turkey, Iran, and Sri Lanka, and 92.7% had been exposed to torture. Self-report measures were implemented to assess PTSD, depression, mental and physical health-related quality of life (QoL), as well as pre- and postmigration experiences. Findings indicated that approximately half the sample met criteria for PTSD and depression, 33.6% met criteria for depression only, and only 2.2% met criteria for PTSD only. Several variables emerged as predictors of comorbidity in contrast to no diagnosis: female gender, odds ratio (OR) = 0.17; age, OR = 0.93; time in Switzerland, OR = 1.16; and trauma exposure, OR = 1.19. Postmigration stress was also associated with greater likelihood of comorbidity compared with no diagnosis, OR = 1.32, and a single diagnosis, OR = 1.14. Further, dual diagnosis was associated with significantly poorer mental health-related and physical health-related QoL (mental health-related QoL: dual diagnosis vs. single diagnosis, d = -0.52 and dual diagnosis vs. no diagnosis, d = -1.30; physical health-related QoL: dual diagnosis vs. single diagnosis, d = -0.73 and dual diagnosis vs. no diagnosis: d = -1.04). Findings indicated that comorbidity was highly prevalent in this sample of treatment-seeking refugees and was associated with a substantial impairment burden. Psychological interventions for refugees should consider the dual impact of PTSD and depression symptoms to optimally decrease distress and improve QoL in this vulnerable group.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Klinik für Konsiliarpsychiatrie und Psychosomatik
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Clinical Psychology, Psychiatry and Mental health
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:18 Dec 2017 17:09
Last Modified:19 Aug 2018 11:53
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0894-9867
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/jts.22205
PubMed ID:28763568

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