Relationships of Childhood Adverse Experiences With Mental Health and Quality of Life at Treatment Start for Adult Refugees Traumatized by Pre-Flight Experiences of War and Human Rights Violations


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Abstract

Adverse and potentially traumatic experiences (PTEs) in childhood were examined among 54 adult refugee patients with pre-flight PTEs of war and human rights violations (HRVs) and related to mental health and quality of life at treatment start. Extent of childhood PTEs was more strongly related to mental health and quality of life than the extent of war and HRV experiences. Childhood PTEs were significantly related to arousal and avoidance symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and to quality of life, whereas pre-flight war and HRV experiences were significantly related to reexperiencing symptoms of PTSD only. Within childhood adversities, experiences of family violence and external violence, but not of loss and illness, were significantly related to increased mental health symptoms and reduced quality of life. These results point to the importance of taking childhood adverse experiences into account in research and treatment planning for adult refugees with war and HRVs trauma.

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