Depression and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among a Community Sample of Adolescent and Young Adult Afghan Refugees


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Abstract

This study was designed to determine the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychiatric disorders among a community sample of adolescent and young adult refugees from Afghanistan. The study also measured the correlation of their current psychiatric disorders with the number of traumatic events experienced, parental acculturation and distress, and other important demographic factors. Thirty-eight refugees between 12 and 24 years of age were interviewed with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R. Five subjects met DSM-III-R criteria for PTSD, 11 subjects met the criteria for major depression, and 13 had either PTSD or major depression or both. Significant positive correlations were found between the subjects' psychiatric diagnosis and the total number of traumatic events experienced and the parental level of psychological distress (especially maternal distress). There were negative correlations between children's symptomatology and a measure of maternal acculturation. These results suggest that a significant proportion of adolescent and young adult Afghan refugees in the community suffer from severe but undiagnosed psychiatric disorders.

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