AffiliationMédecins 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
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JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
AbstractPosttraumatic 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.