The mental health sequelae of traumatic head injury in South Vietnamese ex-political detainees who survived torture

Richard F. Mollica, Miriam C. Chernoff, S. Megan Berthold, James Lavelle, In Kyoon Lyoo, Perry Renshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Little is known about the relationship between traumatic head injury (THI) and psychiatric morbidity in torture survivors. We examine the relationship between THI and depression, PTSD, post-concussive syndrome (PCS), disability and poor health status in Vietnamese ex-political detainees who survived incarceration in Vietnamese re-education camps. A community sample of ex-political detainees (n = 337) and a non-THI, non-ex-detainee comparison group (n = 82) were surveyed. Seventy-eight percent of the ex-political detainees had experienced THI; 90.6% of the ex-political detainees and 3.6% of the comparison group had experienced 7 or more trauma events. Depression and PTSD were greater in ex-detainees than in the comparison group (40.9% vs 23.2% and 13.4% vs 0%). Dose-effect relationships for THI and trauma/torture in the ex-political detainee group were significant. Logistic regression in the pooled sample of ex-detainees and the comparison group confirmed the independent impact of THI from trauma/torture on psychiatric morbidity (OR for PTSD = 22.4; 95% CI: 3.0-165.8). These results demonstrate important effects of THI on depression and PTSD in Vietnamese ex-detainees who have survived torture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1626-1638
Number of pages13
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Volume55
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2014

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