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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 40 (1998) 3, 132 - 142

New research

Traumatic experiences and psychopathology among Somalian refugees in the Netherlands

T.C. Roodenrijs, R.P. Scherpenzeel, J.T.V.M. de Jong

This study was designed to determine the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the co-morbidity of PTSD with depression and anxiety among a sample of 54 Somalian adult refugees in the Netherlands. The study used the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ) and the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 (HSCL-25) to measure the correlation of their current psychiatric disorders with the number of traumatic events experienced. In addition, their physical health consumption was assessed. On average the refugees experienced 15,9 traumatic events. Seventeen subjects (31.5%) met the criteria for PTSD, 19 subjects (36%) met the criteria for a anxiety disorder and 33 subjects (63%) for a depressive disorder. No positive correlation was found between the number of traumatic events experienced and the severity of the PTSS, anxiety, or depression scores. The subjects frequently consulted their general practitioner for a variety of physical complaints whereas psychological complaints were seldomly expressed.