oa Journal of Psychology in Africa - Ethnocultural construction of posttraumatic stress symptoms in African contexts

Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1433-0237



The purpose of this study is to ethnoculturally construct posttraumatic stress symptoms in African contexts. Therefore the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ) is applied, to 100 Sudanese refugees and 120 Malawian torture survivors in the form of interviews. As a result, the PTSD diagnostic category as set forth in DSM-IV and as applied to these particular two samples of African victims does not appear fully applicable. This seems especially true for symptoms that constitute Criterion C. The particular feature of psychic numbing can, however, be substituted' by bodily numbing symptoms. Trauma has been seen as an individual centred event to soma or psyche. But here in non-western people who have a different notion of self it seems to be more projected to the soma (in metaphoric and communicative terms) and the loss of interpersonal relationships and other loss.

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