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An exploratory study of embitterment in traumatized refugees


Spaaij, Julia; Schick, Matthis; Bryant, Richard A; Schnyder, Ulrich; Znoj, Hansjörg; Nickerson, Angela; Morina, Naser (2021). An exploratory study of embitterment in traumatized refugees. BMC Psychology, 9(1):96.

Abstract

Background: Refugees and asylum seekers are frequently exposed to violence, human rights violations and unstable living conditions before, during, and after their displacement. Elevated prevalence rates of psychiatric disorders in forcibly displaced persons are well documented. However, less is known about other problems related to common refugee experiences, such as embitterment, moral injury, and diminished self-efficacy, and how they are related to trauma exposure and post-migration living difficulties.

Methods: A cross-sectional sample of 71 refugees and asylum seekers in treatment were examined regarding exposure to potentially traumatic events, post-migration living difficulties, moral injury appraisals, self-efficacy, and embitterment.

Results: Elevated levels of embitterment were reported by 68% of participants. The regression analysis revealed that greater moral injury appraisals and low levels of self-efficacy were significantly associated with higher levels of embitterment.

Conclusion: The results provide first insights into embitterment and associated factors in refugee populations. Furthermore, they highlight the significance of moral transgressions and low levels of self-efficacy emerging from displacement and traumatic experiences for the development of mental health problems in a clinical sample of refugees. The findings have implications for future research, policy development and clinical practice.

Abstract

Background: Refugees and asylum seekers are frequently exposed to violence, human rights violations and unstable living conditions before, during, and after their displacement. Elevated prevalence rates of psychiatric disorders in forcibly displaced persons are well documented. However, less is known about other problems related to common refugee experiences, such as embitterment, moral injury, and diminished self-efficacy, and how they are related to trauma exposure and post-migration living difficulties.

Methods: A cross-sectional sample of 71 refugees and asylum seekers in treatment were examined regarding exposure to potentially traumatic events, post-migration living difficulties, moral injury appraisals, self-efficacy, and embitterment.

Results: Elevated levels of embitterment were reported by 68% of participants. The regression analysis revealed that greater moral injury appraisals and low levels of self-efficacy were significantly associated with higher levels of embitterment.

Conclusion: The results provide first insights into embitterment and associated factors in refugee populations. Furthermore, they highlight the significance of moral transgressions and low levels of self-efficacy emerging from displacement and traumatic experiences for the development of mental health problems in a clinical sample of refugees. The findings have implications for future research, policy development and clinical practice.

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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
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > General Psychology
Language:English
Date:10 June 2021
Deposited On:21 Jul 2021 20:21
Last Modified:01 Aug 2021 21:26
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:2050-7283
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-021-00599-2
PubMed ID:34112232

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