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Psychother Psychosom Med Psychol. 2011 May;61(5):233-8. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1275341. Epub 2011 May 12.

[Long-term consequences of flight and expulsion in former refugee children].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.


Little is known about long-term consequences of flight and expulsion during childhood. The aim of this study was to interview aging former refugee children about their recollection of traumatic experiences and to screen for full and partial posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and their differential impact on today's quality of life and mental health. In 502 participants from the former German eastern territories who were displaced as children at the end of World War II (at the age of 5-12 years) we examined traumatic experiences, posttraumatic stress symptoms (PDS), comorbid symptoms (SCL-90-R), depressive symptoms (BDI) and quality of life (SF-36). 31.5% participants reported posttraumatic stress symptoms indicating current full PTSD, and 33.7% fulfilled the criteria of a current partial PTSD. Participants with full and partial PTSD reported a significantly reduced quality of life, often depressive and comorbid symptoms and were compromised in their well-being compared to participants without PTSD. The study demonstrates the long-term consequences of flight and expulsion during childhood in aging former refugee children more than 60 years later. Posttraumatic stress symptoms play a prominent role for quality of life and well-being in this population.

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.

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