Research indicates that most survivors of genocide or ethnic cleansing experience long-lasting existential, psychological and physical sequelae. Clinicians often refer to these consequences as symptoms of PTSD, although it is more complicated than a clear-cut diagnosis. Dr Momartin will address a study that was conducted with a group of Bosnian refugees. The results confirm that ‘threat to life’ was a strong predictor of PTSD status; a finding that is supported by the DSM-IV definition of trauma. Also, both ‘threat to life’ and ‘traumatic loss’ were shown to contribute to symptom severity and disability associated with PTSD. A second research study indicated that although the presentation of PTSD symptoms are common in survivors of atrocities, the specific pattern of ‘threat to life’ leading to PTSD differed from that of grief which, was postulated, would be closely linked with traumatic loss, producing ‘complicated grief’. The findings have implications for the transgenerational transmission of trauma and future studies of genocide & ethnic cleansing.
Recorded at the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS)
28 September 2011, New South Wales, Australia.