The Subjective Experience of Trauma and Subsequent PTSD in a Sample of Undocumented Immigrants

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Abstract

Abstract:

Although a subjective component of trauma is commonly recognized in diagnosing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), there are few studies that specifically address Criterion A2, and none addressing this issue among undocumented immigrants. We assessed 212 arriving undocumented immigrants with diverse trauma histories to investigate concordance between objective and subjective factors of trauma (Criteria A1 and A2) and across different types of trauma and PTSD. Concordance between Criteria A1 and A2 varied, with highest rates found for political violence. Interpersonal violence in general was associated with higher rates of PTSD. We identified a dose-response effect for PTSD, but this was not dependent on other events (i.e., other doses) meeting Criterion A2. Discussion focuses on Criterion A within the phenomenology of PTSD and the need to gauge subjective interpretations of trauma events among this population.

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