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Psihijatrija danas
2011, vol. 43, iss. 2, pp. 141-153
article language: Serbian
document type: Research Paper
published on: 30/05/2012
Assessment of the risk factors for posttraumatic stress disorder at the war veterans in ex-Yugoslavia
aUniversity of Belgrade, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Mental Health
bUniversity of Belgrade, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Mental Health + University of Belgrade, Faculty of Medicine



Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is in focus of research for a long period of time and many different approaches to studying it have been applied. Assessment of risk factors for development and oucome of this disorder surfaced as the key research topic since it assures the possibilities for getting to know development of the disorder and it's course, and also it is important both for preventive measures after exposition to trauma and for therapy. Risk factors include the following: biological vulnerability, psychological experiences and social influences; pretraumatic vulnerability (family history of mental disorders, gender, genetic and neuroendocrinological factors, personality traits, traumatic experiences during early childhood, inadequate paternal care and low educational level); intensity of stressors; being prepared for trauma; immediate reactions after trauma exposure (dissociation and copying strategies) and posttraumatic factors (dominant symptoms, social support and other life stress events). The objective of this research was to determine and examine the factors that lead to development of PTSD. The sample consisted of 207 participants: participants in combat in either the 1991-1995 war in ex-Yugoslavia or the 1999 war in Kosovo and Metohia; torture victims, as well as refuges and internally displaced people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Kosovo and Metohia. Persons that experienced bombing of Serbia in 1999, mostly from Belgrade were also included. Diagnosis PTSD was determined according to the structured clinical interview for the DSM-IV disorders, SCID I). We also applied the Semistructured Interview for Survivors of War (SISOW). Depending on the presence or absence of the PTSD diagnosis, participants were split into two groups. The following risk factors were assessed: gender, marital status, education, economic status, personal and family history of psychiatric disorders, psychoactive substance abuse, the sense of control during the traumatic event, and social support (the support of the family, friends, relatives, and international organizations). Our findings have shown that female gender, lower levels of education, lower economic status, the feeling of absence of control over the traumatic event, and a lack of social support during the event, represent the factors that occurred significantly more frequently in the group that developed PTSD compared to the group that was exposed to the traumatic events, but did not develop the disorder.


post-traumatic stress disorder; risk factors; refugees; exiles and internally displaced persons


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