Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Psychological sequelae of torture and organised violence suffered by refugees from Iraq: Trauma-related factors compared with social factors in exile

  • Caroline Gorst-Unsworth (a1) and Eva Goldenberg (a2)
Abstract
Background

Refugees who have suffered traumatic events present complex therapeutic challenges to health professionals. There is little research into post-exile factors that may be amenable to change, and therefore reduce morbidity. We examined the importance of social factors in exile and of trauma factors in producing the different elements of psychological sequelae of severe trauma.

Method

Eighty-four male Iraqi refugees were interviewed. Adverse events and level of social support were measured. Various measures of psychological morbidity were applied, all of which have been used in previous trauma research.

Results

Social factors in exile, particularly the level of ‘affective’ social support, proved important in determining the severity of both post-traumatic stress disorder and depressive reactions, particularly when combined with a severe level of trauma/torture. Poor social support is a stronger predictor of depressive morbidity than trauma factors.

Conclusions

Some of the most important factors in producing psychological morbidity in refugees may be alleviated by planned, integrated rehabilitation programmes and attention to social support and family reunion.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Psychological sequelae of torture and organised violence suffered by refugees from Iraq
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Psychological sequelae of torture and organised violence suffered by refugees from Iraq
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Psychological sequelae of torture and organised violence suffered by refugees from Iraq
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr C. Gorst-Unsworth, GB2 ward, Greenwich District Hospital, Vanbrugh Hill, London SE10 9HE
References
Hide All
American Psychiatric Association (1987) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3rd edn, revised) (DSM – III – R). Washington, DC: APA.
American Psychiatric Association (1994) Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental Disorders (4th edn) (DSM – IV). Washington, DC: APA.
Basoglu, M., Paker, M., Ozmen, E., et al (1994) Psychological effects of torture: comparison of tortured and non-tortured political activists in Turkey. American Journal of Psychiatry, 151, 7681.
Boscarino, J. A. (1995) Post traumatic stress and associated disorders among Vietnam veterans: the significance of combat exposure and social support. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 8, 317336.
Broadhead, W. E., Gehlbach, S. H., DeGruy, F. V., et al (1988) The Duke–UNC Functional Social Support Questionnaire. Medical Care, 26, 709723.
Brown, G. W. & Harris, T. O. (1978) Social Origins of Depression: A Study of Psychiatric Disorders in Women. London: Tavistock.
Dalgard, O. S., Bjork, S. & Tambs, K. (1995) Social support, negative life events and mental health. British Journal of Psychiatry, 166, 2934.
Donald, C. A., Ware, J. E., Brook, R. H., et al (1978) Conceptualisation and Measurement of Health for Adults in the Health Insurance Study. Vol. IV: Social Health. Santa Monica, CA: Rand.
Easton, J. A. & Turner, S. W. (1991) Detention of British citizens as hostages in the Gulf – health, psychological and family consequences. British Medical Journal, 303, 12311234.
Gorst-Unsworth, C., Van Valsen, C. & Turner, S. W. (1993) Prospective pilot study of survivors of torture and organised violence: Examining the existential dilemma. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 181, 263264.
Green, B. L. (1994) Psychosocial research in traumatic stress: An update. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 7, 341363.
Hauff, E. & Vaglum, P. (1995) Organised violence and the stress of exile. Predictors of mental health in a community cohort of Vietnamese refugees three years after resettlement. British Journal of Psychiatry, 166, 360367.
Hume, F. & Summerfield, D. (1994) After the war in Nicaragua: A psychological study of war wounded and ex-combatants. Medicine and War, 10, 424.
Kulka, R. A., Schlenger, W. E., Fairbank, J. A., et al (1990) Trauma and the Vietnam War Generation: Report of Findings from the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study. New York: Brunner/Mazel.
Mollica, R. F., Wyshak, G. & Lavelle, J. (1987) The psychosocial impact of war trauma and torture on South East Asian refugees. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144, 15671572.
Mollica, R. F., Capsi-Yavin, Y., Bollini, P., et al (1992) The Harvard Trauma Questionnaire. Validating a cross-cultural instrument for measuring torture, trauma and PTSD in Indochinese refugees. Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases, 180, 111116.
Paykel, E. S., Rao, B. M. & Taylor, C. N. (1984) Life stress and symptom pattern in out-patient depression. Psychological Medicine, 14, 559568.
Ramsay, R., Gorst-Unsworth, C. & Turner, S. (1993) Psychiatric morbidity in survivors of organised state violence, including torture. A retrospective series. British Journal of Psychiatry, 162, 5559.
Rosser, R., Dewar, S. & Thompson, J. (1991) Psychiatric aspects of disaster. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 84, 48.
SPSS Inc. (1988) Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. SPSS/PC + V2.0. Chicago, IL: SPSS Inc.
Turner, S. & Gorst-Unsworth, C. (1990) Psychological sequelae of torture. A descriptive model. British Journal of Psychiatry, 157, 475480.
Van Velsen, C., Gorst-Unsworth, C. & Turner, S. W. (1996) Survivors of torture and organised violence: Demography and diagnosis. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9, 181193.
Weisaeth, L. (1989) The stressors and the post-traumatic stress syndrome after an industrial disaster. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 80, 2537.
Wing, J. K., Cooper, J. E. & Sartorius, N. (1974) Measurement and Classification of Psychiatric Symptoms: An Instruction Manual for the PSE and Categor Program. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Yehuda, R. & McFarlane, A. C. (1995) Conflict between current knowledge about post-traumatic stress disorder and its original conceptual basis. American Journal of Psychiatry, 152, 17051713.
World Health Organization (1975) Ninth Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD–9). Geneva: WHO.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 17 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 41 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 3rd January 2018 - 23rd April 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Psychological sequelae of torture and organised violence suffered by refugees from Iraq: Trauma-related factors compared with social factors in exile

  • Caroline Gorst-Unsworth (a1) and Eva Goldenberg (a2)
Submit a response

eLetters

No eLetters have been published for this article.

×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *