The Impact of Interpersonal and Noninterpersonal Trauma on Psychological Symptoms in Refugees: The Moderating Role of Gender and Trauma Type

Author(s): Joanne HALDANE, Angela NICKERSON

https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jts.22132

Abstract

Research findings have documented a relationship between the number of types of traumatic events to which refugees were exposed and psychological disorders. It is unclear, however, if gender moderates the impact of trauma on refugee mental health. The participants in this study were 60 male and 31 female refugees and asylum-seekers resettled in Australia. Participants had a mean age of 34.54 years (SD = 9.70), and were from a variety of countries including Iraq, Iran, and Sri Lanka. We conducted a multigroup path analysis to test if the relationship between psychological outcomes of exposure to trauma (posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD] symptoms, symptoms of anxiety, and symptoms of depression) was different as a function of the type of traumatic exposure (interpersonal vs. noninterpersonal) or as a function of gender. We found a significant relationship between interpersonal trauma exposure and PTSD symptoms (β = .77) and anxiety symptoms (β = .32) in women, and a significant association between noninterpersonal trauma exposure and PTSD symptoms (β = .59), anxiety (β =.49), and depression symptoms (β = .32) in men. For men, the effect sizes of the relationship between exposure to specific types of noninterpersonal trauma and psychological symptoms ranged from d = 0.14 to 1.01; for exposure to interpersonal trauma, they ranged from d = -0.53 to 0.43. For women, the effect sizes of the relationship between exposure to specific types of noninterpersonal trauma and psychological symptoms ranged from d = -0.79 to 0.67; for exposure to interpersonal trauma, they ranged from d = -0.09 to 1.46. These results suggested supporting refugees in their efforts to overcome the psychological impact of trauma, including the allocation of resources in clinical services to support the psychological recovery of refugees.

Tags: Anxiety disorders, Depressive disorders, Gender, PTSD, Women, Australia

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