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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2007 Jul;195(7):572-9.

Longitudinal study of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and changes in traumatic memories over time in Bosnian refugees.

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  • 1Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma, Massachusetts General Hospital, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA. rmollica@partners.org


This longitudinal study examined traumatic memory consistency over a 3-year period among a sample of highly traumatized Bosnian refugees, focusing on demographic factors, types of trauma, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. In 1996 and 1999, 376 Bosnian refugees were interviewed about 54 wartime trauma and torture events, and symptoms of PTSD and depression. Reports were compared for both time periods, and changed responses were analyzed for significance. Overall, there was consistency in reporting over time; when change occurred it was in the direction of decreased reports at follow-up. This downward trend was not associated with any particular diagnosis. However, PTSD alone, without comorbid symptoms of depression, was uniquely associated with the group that exhibited an upward trend. This implies that increased reporting is related specifically to the presence of PTSD symptoms, and that PTSD may be distinctly associated with the failed extinction of traumatic memories.

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