Our objective was to test the assessment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and associated symptoms in a multicultural immigrant/refugee population at a psychiatric out-patient clinic. The pilot study included volunteer patients who were randomly assigned to an intervention group (N = 33), who received SCID diagnosis and a battery of life event questionnaires, and a referent group (N = 30), who received the standard diagnostic program. All were followed-up for 1 year. Forty percent of the intervention group, but none in the referent group, were judged to have PTSD. In the intervention group, positive significant correlations were found between HTQ and HSCL-25 and SCID, Axis I PTSD. Experience of trauma influenced the ill-health in the psychometric indices, and the psychometric indices correlated negatively with present and optimal functioning. A targeted trauma approach toward multicultural psychiatric patients using a multidisciplinary team and validated psychometric tools provided sensitive and accurate diagnostic information for this group.
1 Division of Psychiatry, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Family Medicine, Karolinska Institute/Huddinge University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
2 Division of Psychiatry, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Family Medicine, Karolinska Institute/Huddinge University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
Send reprint request to Dr. Solvig Ekblad, at Unit for Immigrant Environment and Health, National Institute for Psychosocial Factors and Health, Box 230, S-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.
This work was supported by a grant from Stockholm County Council (“Dagmarmedel,” SVSO), Sweden. The authors thank social workers Margareta Forslund and Christina Wennström who interviewed the intervention group, psychologist Munhi Westin for some of the coding, Dr. Karen Blekić who corrected the English, and Dr. Richard Mollica and his colleagues for permission to use the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire. The authors especially thank all those patients who participated in the study. Without their support this article would not have been possible, and their time and trust are appreciated. The authors deeply admire their courage and strength and hope that this pilot study proves to be of some value to them and to other immigrants and refugees in Sweden as well.