Adjustment to Trauma Exposure in Refugee, Displaced, and Non-Displaced Bosnian Women

Citation:

Schmidt, Martina, Nera Kravic, and Ulrike Ehlert. 2008. "Adjustment to Trauma Exposure in Refugee, Displaced, and Non-Displaced Bosnian Women." Archives of Women's Mental Health 11 (4): 269-76.

Authors: Martina Schmidt, Nera Kravic, Ulrike Ehlert

Abstract:

The war in Bosnia resulted in the displacement of millions of civilians, most of them women. Ten years after the civil war, many of them are still living as refugees in their country of origin or abroad. Research on different refugee groups has continuously reported persistent levels of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental-health problems in this population. The present study compared PTSD and self-concept in Bosnian refugee women ( n = 29) with women who were internally displaced (IDP; n = 26) and non-displaced women ( n = 32). Data were collected using the Bosnian Trauma Questionnaire and four scales assessing self-esteem, perceived incompetence, externality of control attribution, and persistence. IDPs scored significantly higher on PTSD symptoms, externality of control attribution and perceived incompetence, and lower on self-esteem than both refugee and non-displaced women. The level of education most strongly predicted PTSD symptom severity, followed by the type of displacement, and exposure to violence during the war. Associations of self-concept with displacement and psychopathology were inconsistent, with type of displacement predicting control attributions but not other aspects of self-concept and PTSD symptoms being partly related to perceived incompetence and self-esteem. These results support previous findings stating that, in the long run, refugees show better mental health than IDPs, and that witnessing violence is a traumatic experience strongly linked to the development of PTSD symptoms. Results further indicate that education plays an important role in the development of PTSD symptoms. Associations of control attributions and type of displacement were found; these results have not been previously documented in literature.

Keywords: trauma, female refugees, internally displaced people, mental health, posttraumatic stress disorder, female civilians

Topics: Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Refugees, Gender, Women, Health, PTSD Regions: Europe, Balkans Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 2008

© 2017 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.