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Differential Associations Among PTSD and Complex PTSD Symptoms and Traumatic Experiences and Postmigration Difficulties in a Culturally Diverse Refugee Sample


Hecker, Tobias; Huber, Stephanie; Maier, Thomas; Maercker, Andreas (2018). Differential Associations Among PTSD and Complex PTSD Symptoms and Traumatic Experiences and Postmigration Difficulties in a Culturally Diverse Refugee Sample. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 31(6):795-804.

Abstract

Forced migration is one of the major challenges currently facing the international community. Many refugees have been affected by traumatic experiences at home and during their flight, putting them at a heightened risk of developing trauma-related disorders. The new version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) introduced two sibling disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex PTSD (CPTSD). So far, little is known about risk and protective factors in refugees that are specifically associated with the disturbances in self-organization (DSO) characteristic of CPTSD. In this study, we aimed to investigate the association between PTSD and DSO symptoms and traumatic experiences, postmigration difficulties, and social support in a culturally diverse sample of refugees who resettled in Switzerland. A total of 94 refugees (85.1% male; M age = 31.60 years, SD = 10.14, range: 18-61 years) participated in this study. Trained assessors performed either guided questionnaire assessments or structured interviews. In our advice- and help-seeking sample, 32.9% of individuals suffered from PTSD and 21.3% from CPTSD. After controlling for potential gender differences, we found positive associations between PTSD symptoms and trauma exposure, β = .22, as well as between DSO symptoms and postmigration living difficulties, β = .42, and lack of social support, β = .22. Our findings support the notion that it is highly important to consider differential associations among PTSD and DSO symptoms and risk and protective factors to gain a deeper understanding of the trauma-related problems refugees face.

Abstract

Forced migration is one of the major challenges currently facing the international community. Many refugees have been affected by traumatic experiences at home and during their flight, putting them at a heightened risk of developing trauma-related disorders. The new version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) introduced two sibling disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex PTSD (CPTSD). So far, little is known about risk and protective factors in refugees that are specifically associated with the disturbances in self-organization (DSO) characteristic of CPTSD. In this study, we aimed to investigate the association between PTSD and DSO symptoms and traumatic experiences, postmigration difficulties, and social support in a culturally diverse sample of refugees who resettled in Switzerland. A total of 94 refugees (85.1% male; M age = 31.60 years, SD = 10.14, range: 18-61 years) participated in this study. Trained assessors performed either guided questionnaire assessments or structured interviews. In our advice- and help-seeking sample, 32.9% of individuals suffered from PTSD and 21.3% from CPTSD. After controlling for potential gender differences, we found positive associations between PTSD symptoms and trauma exposure, β = .22, as well as between DSO symptoms and postmigration living difficulties, β = .42, and lack of social support, β = .22. Our findings support the notion that it is highly important to consider differential associations among PTSD and DSO symptoms and risk and protective factors to gain a deeper understanding of the trauma-related problems refugees face.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:1 December 2018
Deposited On:19 Nov 2018 14:08
Last Modified:17 Dec 2018 02:05
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0894-9867
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/jts.22342
PubMed ID:30431683

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