Traumatic events and predictive factors for posttraumatic symptoms in displaced Bosnian women in a war zone

Authors

  • Solveig Dahl,

    1. Psychosocial Center for Refugees. Department of Psychiatry. Faculty of Medicine. The University of Oslo, Sognsveien 218. N-0864 Oslo. Norway
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  • Atifa Mutapcic,

    1. Save the Children, Zenico, Bosnia-Herzegovina
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  • Berit Schei

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Community Medicine and General Practice. Faculty of Medicine. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology. University Medical Center. N-7005 Trondheim, Norway
    • Department of Community Medicine and General Practice. Faculty of Medicine. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology. University Medical Center. N-7005 Trondheim, Norway
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Abstract

A study was conducted among 209 displaced women attending a Women's Center in a war zone in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1994. Information on war-related traumatic events, sociodemographic factors and posttraumatic symptomatology was collected by means of a questionnaire. Post-traumatic symptoms were registered by using a 10-item Posttraumatic Symptom Scale (PTSS-10). Women with six or more symptoms were classified as a “posttraumatic symptom case” (PTS-case). Among women who had survived the most severe traumas (concentration camps or other kinds of detention) the proportion of PTS-cases was highest: 71% compared to 47% of the women without this kind of traumatic background. High numbers of traumas, having children, being over 25 years of age, and the reporting of an absent husband, were characteristics associated with being a PTS-case. In the multivariate analysis, severe trauma and reporting of an absent husband remained significantly associated with PTS-cases. Clinical implications were discussed.

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