Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Risk factors for psychological distress and uses of religious coping among African torture survivors
by Leaman, Suzanne C., Ph.D., The George Washington University, 2009, 132; 3360140
Abstract (Summary)

Torture is a gruesome and horrific trauma perpetrated by governments all over the world. Those who survive frequently report severe psychological distress, yet mental health outcomes vary among torture survivors. Risk and protective factors of psychological distress for torture survivors, especially African refugees, have been minimally researched. This study examined the associations between types of torture and psychological distress among 131 African adult torture survivors (75 females and 56 males) living in the United States. Quantitative analyses found that sexual torture was significantly associated with symptoms of PTSD and depression while family torture was significantly related to symptoms of PTSD only. Dimensions of religious coping were explored as moderators of the relationships between risk factors and psychological distress. While types of religious coping as moderators were not supported in quantitative analyses, focus group participants (3 men and 3 women) indicated that religious coping was an important part of emotionally healing from their traumatic experiences. Reasons for lack of findings on religious variables in the quantitative analysis and the importance of religion found in the qualitative analysis are discussed with recommendations for future research. Important considerations for culturally relevant treatment for refugee torture survivors are presented.

Key words. torture survivors; PTSD, depression; Africans; sexual torture, family torture; religious coping

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gee, Christina B., Cogar, Mary
Commitee: Molock, Sherry, Peterson, Rolf, Watlington, Christina, Zucker, Alyssa
School: The George Washington University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-B 70/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clinical psychology
Keywords: Africans, Depression, PTSD, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Religious coping, Sexual torture, Torture survivors
Publication Number: 3360140
ISBN: 9781109241549
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