Conceptualization of PTSD and comorbid symptoms in treatment-seeking veterans and refugees
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Background: Refugees and veterans are both at higher risk of developing a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but it is unclear if PTSD is also constructed similar in both groups. Furthermore, may there be differences in comorbid symptoms among veterans and refugees. These possible differences might affect treatment outcomes. Aims: The aim of the first part of this study was to compare the conceptualizations of PTSD in veterans and refugees. The second part of the study examined differences in comorbid depressive, hostility and somatic symptoms among veterans and refugees. Method: Data from treatment-seeking veterans and refugees from Foundation Centrum ’45 were used (N=365). The first part of the study used Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5) data to conduct Principal Component Analyses (PCA) in order to compare PTSD conceptualizations. The second part of the study used the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) to examine differences in comorbid symptoms. Results: The PCA yielded six components in the veteran sample and seven components in the refugee sample. Furthermore, multivariate analyses showed a significant difference between veterans and refugees regarding comorbid symptoms. Univariate analysis showed that refugees reported more depressive symptoms and more somatic symptoms. There was no difference found in symptoms of hostility between the two groups. Conclusion: The results of this study showed that traumatized veterans and refugees present different symptom clusters of PTSD and differences in comorbid depressive and somatic symptoms. These results imply that these groups might need other treatment approaches in order to achieve better treatment outcomes. Recommendations for future research are examining the effect of different treatment approaches in these groups and the use of other analytic techniques to replicate current findings.