Psychological Effects of War Trauma and Abuse on Older Cambodian Refugee Women


Rozée, Patricia D., and Gretchen Van Boemel. 1990. "The Psychological Effects of War Trauma and Abuse on Older Cambodian Refugee Women." Women & Therapy 8 (4): 23-50.

Authors: Patricia D. Rozée, Gretchen Van Boemel


The paper discusses the life experiences of a group of older women about whom little is known: Cambodian refugees. Interview data demonstrate the superiority of environmental stress theories over psychodynamic theory in explaining non-organic blindness among this population. Subjective visual acuity was significantly related to years of servitude/internment (including forced labor, starvation, physical and sexual abuse and execution of loved ones) in communist camps during and after the fall of Cambodia in 1975. Onset of visual loss following these traumas, preceded by healthy pre-trauma functioning, suggests environmental rather than intrapsychic etiology. Physical and psychological abuse of Cambodian women during and after the fall of Cambodia is examined in depth. Suggestions for culturally-relevant interventions are discussed.

Keywords: trauma, female refugees, mental health, sexual abuse

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, Trauma, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia

Year: 1990

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