The dose-effect relationships between torture and psychiatric symptoms in Vietnamese ex-political detainees and a comparison group.
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to determine in Vietnamese ex-political detainees newly arrived into the United States a) the prevalence of torture and psychiatric symptoms and b) the dose-effect relationships between cumulative torture experience and the psychiatric symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depression. The study population included Vietnamese ex-political detainees (N = 51) and a comparison group (N = 22). All respondents received culturally validated instruments with known psychometric properties including Vietnamese versions of the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 and the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire. The ex-political detainees, in contrast to the comparison group, had experienced more torture events (12.2 SD = 4.2 vs. 2.6 SD = 3.1) and had higher rates of PTSD (90% vs. 79%) and depression (49% vs. 15%). Dose-effect relationships between cumulative torture experience and psychiatric symptoms were positive with the PTSD subcategory of "increased arousal" revealing the strongest association. These findings provide evidence that torture is associated with psychiatric morbidity in Vietnamese refugees. The demonstration of significant dose-effect responses supports the hypothesis that torture is a major risk factor in the etiology of major depression and PTSD. The generalizability of these results to other torture survivor groups is unknown. The interaction between torture and other pre- and post-migration risk factors over time in different cultural settings still needs to be examined.
Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal 01/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10560-015-0385-5
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ABSTRACT: The rapid increase in the number of patients with diverse ethnic backgrounds and previous exposure to severe mental trauma dictates the need for improvement in the quality of transcultural psychiatric health care through the development of relevant and effective training tools. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to evaluate the impact of training with a virtual patient on the learner's knowledge of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, clinical management, and basic communication skills. METHODS: The authors constructed an interactive educational tool based on virtual patient methodology that portrayed a refugee with severe symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and depression. A total of 32 resident psychiatrists tested the tool and completed a pre-interaction and post-interaction knowledge test, including skills, at the time and several weeks later. RESULTS: All of the participants (N=32) completed the pre-interaction and post-interaction test, and 26 (81%) of them completed the online follow-up test. The mean pre-interaction score was 7.44 (male: 7.08, female: 7.65, no statistical significance). The mean post-interaction score was 8.47, which was significantly higher (P<.001) than the pre-interaction score (mean score 7.44). The mean score for the follow-up test several weeks later was 8.38, higher than the pre-interaction score by 0.69 points but not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that virtual patients can successfully facilitate the acquisition of core knowledge in the field of psychiatry, in addition to developing skills such as clinical reasoning, decision making, and history taking. Repeated training sessions with virtual patients are proposed in order to achieve sustainable educational effects.Journal of Medical Internet Research 02/2015; 17(2):e46. DOI:10.2196/jmir.3497 · 4.67 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Former members of armed groups in eastern DR Congo had typically witnessed, experienced, and perpetrated extreme forms of violence. Enhanced trauma-related symptoms had been shown in prior research. But also lashing out in self-defense is a familiar response to threat defined as reactive aggression. Another potential response is appetitive aggression, in which the perpetration of excessive violence is perceived as pleasurable (combat high). What roles do these forms of aggressive behavior play in modern warfare and how are they related to posttraumatic stress symptoms? To answer the question, we sought to determine predictors for appetitive aggressive and trauma-related mental illness, and investigated the frequency of psychopathological symptoms for high- and low-intensity conflict demobilization settings. To this end, we interviewed 213 former members of (para)military groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in regard to their combat exposure, posttraumatic stress, appetitive aggression, depression, suicidality, and drug dependence. Random forest regression embedded in a conditional inference framework revealed that perpetrated violent acts are not necessarily stressful. In fact, the experience of violent acts that typically implicated salient cues of hunting (e.g., blood, suffering of the victim, etc.) had the strongest association with an appetite for aggression. Furthermore, the number of lifetime perpetrated violent acts was the most important predictor of appetitive aggression. However, the number of perpetrated violent acts did not significantly affect the posttraumatic stress. Greater intensity of conflict was associated with more severe posttraumatic stress symptoms and depression. Psychotherapeutic interventions that address appetitive aggression in addition to trauma-related mental illness, including drug dependence, therefore seem indispensible for a successful reintegration of those who fought in the current civil wars.Frontiers in Psychology 07/2015; 5:1518. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01518 · 2.80 Impact Factor