Victimization and PTSD in A Rural Kenyan Youth Sample

Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health 7 Sept 2012 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1745017901208010091


Within the last ten years, there has been a growing number of epidemiological studies, examining the effect of trauma exposure in children and adolescents. Although studies concerning Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have been conducted in a wide array of different cultural contexts [1], the knowledge on traumatization and development of PTSD is still limited [2]. Most studies conducted are clinical studies, which deal with subjects that have already been traumatized or affected by specific single events such as war [3], natural disasters [1], serious accidents [4] or physical/sexual abuse [5-7]. Though research indicates that adolescents are very vulnerable to the exposure of Potentially Traumatic Events (PTEs) [8], studies targeting non-clinical youth populations and the impact of their life experiences are very few. With the increasing ethnic diversity of populations worldwide, it is of particular interest to compare the prevalence of exposure and PTSD in children and adolescents of different ethnic backgrounds. When designing preventive interventions and treatment programs for youth suffering from PTSD it is crucial to understand the complex interaction of variables behind the disorder. Differences in prevalence of exposure, PTSD and demographic variables between ethnicities may reveal some important clues to the etiology of the disease.

The present study replicated six previous non-clinical studies which were designed to provide epidemiological information about exposure to PTEs, and the prevalence of PTSD among adolescents (see Table 1). The six studies were conducted in different countries and were very similar in their research methods and samples. The studies have been conducted in four European countries: Denmark [9], Iceland, [10], Lithuania [11], and the Faroe Islands [2], as well as in two Asian countries: Israel [12], and India [13] of which the four first samples were nationally representative.

Keywords: Posttraumatic stress disorder, adolescents, traumatic exposure, cross-cultural research, Kenya.
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