The Harvard Trauma Questionnaire: Validating a Cross-Cultural Instrument for Measuring Torture, Trauma, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Indochinese Refugees

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Abstract

There are no valid and reliable cross-cultural instruments capable of measuring torture, trauma, and trauma-related symptoms associated with the DSM-III-R diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Generating such standardized instruments for patients from non-Western cultures involves particular methodological challenges. This study describes the development and validation of three Indochinese versions of the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ), a simple and reliable screening instrument that is well received by refugee patients and bicultural staff. It identifies for the first time trauma symptoms related to the Indochinese refugee experience that are associated with PTSD criteria. The HTQ's cultural sensitivity may make it useful for assessing other highly traumatized non-Western populations.

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