Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Keith Burt

Project Collaborators

Dr. Keith Burt (Graduate Student Mentor) Karen Fondacaro (Collaborating Mentor)

Graduate Student Mentors

Hannah Holbrook

Status

Graduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Psychological Science

Primary Research Category

Social Sciences

Secondary Research Category

Health Sciences

Presentation Title

Types of Torture as a Predictor of PTSD Symptomology

Time

9:00 AM

Location

Silver Maple Ballroom - Social Sciences

Abstract

Background and Purpose/Objectives: Among refugees diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), previous exposure to torturehas been found to be the strongest predictor of symptoms related to PTSD (Steel et al., 2009). Several studies have shown the relationship between torture type and psychopathology, such that sexual abuse has been particularly associated with higher rates of PTSD in refugee and non-refugee samples (Hooberman et al., 2011; Kira et al., 2013; Gaskell, 2005). To investigate such findings, we hypothesized that in our clinical sample, refugee torture survivors who have experienced sexual trauma/rape would display a greater risk of PTSD in comparison to those with different types of torture experiences. Methodology:Participants included 170 refugee torture survivors seen at a U.S. Northeastern outpatient clinic. As part of a larger study, measures included a demographic questionnaire assessing torture experiences and the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ). Results:Logistic regression was performed using different torture categories to evaluate the independent association of each torture variable with risk for meeting a PTSD-related clinical cutoff score. We found that accounting for the other torture categories experienced, psychological torture significantly predicted meeting PTSD cutoff criteria, OR = 3.79, p = .008, 95% CI [1.42, 10.08]. Discussion: Contrary to the existing literature, our results highlight the impact of psychological torture in refugee patients seeking services at a mental health clinic. We will present on the importance of providing culturally sensitive and responsive PTSD assessments and treatments to those who have experienced different types of torture.

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Types of Torture as a Predictor of PTSD Symptomology

Background and Purpose/Objectives: Among refugees diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), previous exposure to torturehas been found to be the strongest predictor of symptoms related to PTSD (Steel et al., 2009). Several studies have shown the relationship between torture type and psychopathology, such that sexual abuse has been particularly associated with higher rates of PTSD in refugee and non-refugee samples (Hooberman et al., 2011; Kira et al., 2013; Gaskell, 2005). To investigate such findings, we hypothesized that in our clinical sample, refugee torture survivors who have experienced sexual trauma/rape would display a greater risk of PTSD in comparison to those with different types of torture experiences. Methodology:Participants included 170 refugee torture survivors seen at a U.S. Northeastern outpatient clinic. As part of a larger study, measures included a demographic questionnaire assessing torture experiences and the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ). Results:Logistic regression was performed using different torture categories to evaluate the independent association of each torture variable with risk for meeting a PTSD-related clinical cutoff score. We found that accounting for the other torture categories experienced, psychological torture significantly predicted meeting PTSD cutoff criteria, OR = 3.79, p = .008, 95% CI [1.42, 10.08]. Discussion: Contrary to the existing literature, our results highlight the impact of psychological torture in refugee patients seeking services at a mental health clinic. We will present on the importance of providing culturally sensitive and responsive PTSD assessments and treatments to those who have experienced different types of torture.