Trauma exposure and refugee status as predictors of mental health outcomes in treatment-seeking refugees

Knipscheer, Jeroen W.; Sleijpen, Marieke; Mooren, Trudy; ter Heide, F. Jackie June; van der Aa, Niels
August 2015
BJPsych Bulletin;Aug2015, Vol. 39 Issue 4, p178
Academic Journal
Aims and method This study aimed to identify predictors of symptom severity for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression in asylum seekers and refugees referred to a specialised mental health centre. Trauma exposure (number and domain of event), refugee status and severity of PTSD and depression were assessed in 688 refugees. Results Symptom severity of PTSD and depression was significantly associated with lack of refugee status and accumulation of traumatic events. Four domains of traumatic events (human rights abuse, lack of necessities, traumatic loss, and separation from others) were not uniquely associated with symptom severity. All factors taken together explained 11% of variance in PTSD and depression. Clinical implications To account for multiple predictors of symptom severity including multiple traumatic events, treatment for traumatised refugees may need to be multimodal and enable the processing of multiple traumatic memories within a reasonable time-frame.


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