Pre-Migration Trauma Experiences of East African Refugees in the United States
Brenda Shook, Ph.D; Charles Tatum, Ph.D; Jan Parker, Ph.D; Barbara English, LMFT

This study examines potentially traumatic experiences and symptoms, as measured by the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ), of 17 male and 36 female resettled East African refugees in the United States. Eight of the 40 HTQ traumatic events were experienced by at least 75 percent of either male or female participants. The number and types of events, as well as the severity of symptoms, were different for males and females. Males experienced significantly more events and had a greater average symptom severity than females. Both groups reported symptoms of great enough severity to warrant mental health treatment. The number of events experienced was positively correlated with symptom severity. Many of the most distressful symptoms reported by participants are not part of the DSM-5criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This finding has significance regarding the diagnostic criteria for PTSD in populations outside of mainstream America.

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