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The Range of Symptoms in Refugees of War: The New Mexico Refugee Symptom Checklist-121

Hollifield, Michael MD*; Warner, Teddy D. PhD; Krakow, Barry MD; Jenkins, Janis PhD§; Westermeyer, Joseph MD, PhD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: February 2009 - Volume 197 - Issue 2 - p 117-125
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31819642dc
Original Article

The range of symptoms experienced by refugees of war has not been empirically assessed. The New Mexico Refugee Symptom Checklist-121 (NMRSCL-121) was developed utilizing established guidelines and evaluated for its psychometric properties. Community-dwelling Kurdish and Vietnamese refugees reported 48 (SD = 31) persistent and bothersome somatic and psychological symptoms on the NMRSCL-121. Internal consistency and test-retest reliability for the total scale and for most subscales were acceptable, and construct and concurrent validity for the NMRSCL-121 data was shown. There were modest ethnic group differences on symptom severity and psychometric properties of NMRSCL-121 subscales. The NMRSCL-121 produces reliable and valid assessments of a wide range of symptoms in 2 broad community samples of displaced adult refugees.

*The Behavioral Health Research Center of the Southwest, a Center of Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Albuquerque, New Mexico; †Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, New Mexico; ‡Sleep and Human Health Institute, Albuquerque, New Mexico; §Department of Psychiatry, University of California at San Diego, San Diego, California; and ∥University of Minnesota Department of Psychiatry and the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, grant RO1 59574.

Send reprint requests to Michael Hollifield, MD, The Behavioral Health Research Center of the Southwest, 612 Encino Place NE, Albuquerque, NM 87202. E-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.