Factor structure of PTSD symptoms among west and central African refugees

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Abstract

Although trauma is widespread in Africa, Africans are unrepresented in the literature on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The authors used confirmatory factor analysis of responses to the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire to model PTSD symptom structure in a sample of African refugees presenting at a U.S. torture treatment clinic. They tested four models that are proposed in the literature and one based on their clinical experience in which some symptoms of hyperarousal were integrated into intrusion. Their findings support a preference for a 4-factor aroused intrusion model. Discussion focuses on interpretation of models, the role of numbing and avoidance, and the limitations of Euro American symptoms in non-Euro American populations.

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