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The Impact of Post-Migration Factors on PTSD and Depressive Symptoms Among Asylum Seekers in the United States Open Access

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The Impact of Post-Migration Factors on PTSD and Depressive Symptoms Among Asylum Seekers in the United StatesEach year thousands of people flee their native countries for the United States seeking political asylum due to persecution, and many suffer from PTSD and depressive symptoms. However, little is known about the impact of post-migration (PM) factors, such as employment, housing, asylum status on the development and maintenance of those symptoms. In this study, I establish the reliability and validity of the translated PTSD and depression measures, and examine the impact of changes in PM factors on symptom severity level among a group of torture-surviving African asylum seekers (n=78) based on a cognitive-behavioral model. I found that participants’ symptoms improved over time independent of changes in measured PM factors. A change is asylum status was found to significantly and substantially reduce symptom levels, but changes in employment and housing were not found to be significantly related to a change in symptom level. These findings highlight the possible role of environmental stressors on the maintenance or reduction of PTSD and depressive symptoms, and suggest that there may be ways to address symptoms in large scale ways beyond a psychotherapeutic setting.

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