Civilian War-Zone Traumas, Complex PTSD, and Psychopathology: The Case of Kuwaiti Women


Al-Rasheed, Malak. 2004. "Civilian War-Zone Traumas, Complex PTSD, and Psychopathology: The Case of Kuwaiti Women." PhD diss., University of Denver.

Author: Malak Al-Rasheed


Little is known about the long-term effects of civilian war-zone traumas on psychopathology and psychosocial functioning for Kuwaiti women, and none about the application of Herman's theory of complex PTSD cross culturally and across different traumatic scenarios. This dissertation examines exposure and severity of reactions to different war-traumas in relation to the development of complex PTSD and other psychopathological symptoms, and levels of psychosocial functioning among a random sample of Kuwaiti women (N = 683). Participants completed a survey instrument designed to gather demographic data, and measure variables of trauma exposure, complex PTSD, PTSD, different psychopathological symptoms, self-concept, and psychosocial functioning. The results showed higher prevalence rates of complex PTSD (85.6%) vs. PTSD (30%), and high overall psychological distress (75.4%). In addition, a significant relationship between exposure to war-zone traumas and the development of complex PTSDwas found. Finally, women with greater reactions to trauma had greater psychopathological symptoms, and lower psychosocial functioning levels. Severity of reactions to trauma, psychopathology, self-concept, and complex PTSDwere significant predictors of psychosocial functioning levels. The findings imply that expansion of Herman's complex PTSD theory to include war-zone traumas as another case of prolonged trauma is feasible. In addition, complex PTSD could be a better diagnostic category to capture the greater range of reactions to prolonged trauma thanPTSD. Other methodological and cultural validity issues were discussed as well.

Keywords: trauma, female civilians, posttraumatic stress disorder, mental health

Topics: Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, PTSD, Trauma Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Kuwait

Year: 2004

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