• Exposure to violence and PTSD symptoms among Somali women

      de Jong, K; van der Kam, S; Swarthout, T; Ford, N; Mills, C; Yun, O; Kleber, R J; Médecins sans Frontières, Doctors without Borders, Amsterdam, Geneva, New York; Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand; Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, and Foundation Arq, Diemen, the Netherlands (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011-12-05)
      Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, exposure to traumatic stressors, and health care utilization were examined in 84 women attending a primary health care clinic in Mogadishu, Somalia. The Somalia-Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale was used in this active warzone to measure symptoms. Nearly all women reported high levels of confrontations with violence; half described being exposed to a potentially traumatizing event. Nearly one third had significant PTSD symptoms. Compared to those who did not, women who reported exposure to a traumatic stressor reported more confrontations with violence (7.1 vs. 3.3; p < . 001), health complaints (3.8 vs. 2.9; p = .03), and nearly 3 times as much (p = .03) health service utilization. A potentially traumatizing event was found to be a simplified proxy for assessing mental health distress in women attending a primary health care facility in highly insecure, unpredictable, resource-limited settings.
    • Mental Health Status of Vulnerable Tsunami-Affected Communities: A Survey in Aceh Province, Indonesia.

      Souza, R; Bernatsky, S; Reyes, R; de Jong, K; Medecins Sans Frontieres-Holland, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (2007-06)
      The authors determined the prevalence of severe emotional distress and depressive symptoms using the Hopkins Symptoms Checklist-25 (HSCL; Derogatis, Lipman, Rickels, Uhlenhuth, & Covi, 1974) in tsunami-affected communities that had experienced armed conflict arising from the ongoing independence movement in Aceh Province, Indonesia. We also evaluated determinants of severe emotional distress. The data were collected for the purposes of a mental health assessment. In our sample (N = 262), 83.6% demonstrated severe emotional distress, and 77.1% demonstrated depressive symptoms. In multivariate regression models, severe emotional distress was positively associated with the number of tsunami-related deaths among household members. Our data suggests a need for effective interventions in this vulnerable population.