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Am J Psychiatry. 2005 Mar;162(3):538-44.

Is posttraumatic stress in youth a culture-bound phenomenon? A comparison of symptom trends in selected U.S. and Russian communities.

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  • 1Yale Child Study Center, 230 South Frontage Rd., New Haven, CT 06520-7900, USA. vladislav.ruchkin@yale.edu



The cross-cultural applicability of the concept of posttraumatic stress was investigated by assessing symptom frequency and levels of comorbid psychopathology in adolescents from the United States and Russia.


A self-report survey was conducted in representative samples of 2,157 adolescents 14 to 17 years old from urban communities of the United States (N=1,212) and Russia (N=945).


In both countries, the levels of all three major clusters of posttraumatic symptoms (reexperiencing, avoidance, and arousal), as well as of internalizing psychopathology, increased along with the level of posttraumatic stress. Expectations about the future had a tendency to decrease with increasing posttraumatic stress. No differences between countries in significant interaction effects for symptom levels were found.


The current findings suggest that posttraumatic symptoms and their associations with other adolescent mental health problems are not culture bound and that the psychological consequences of trauma follow similar dynamics cross-culturally.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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