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J Nerv Ment Dis. 2007 Sep;195(9):715-22.

Asylum seekers seeking mental health services in the United States: clinical and legal implications.

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1
Boston University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA. piwo@bu.edu

Abstract

Asylum seekers flee their countries in search of safety due to persecution at home. Characteristics were assessed of 134 consecutive asylum seekers who sought mental health services at a program caring for survivors of torture and refugee trauma, using a chart review of patients seen between January 1999 and December 2002. Two-thirds of the sample were female, and 82% came from Africa. Eighty-four percent of the sample reported a history of torture, and one-half experienced rape or attempted rape. Most common diagnoses included posttraumatic stress disorder and depression. Predictors of torture included: posttraumatic stress disorder [odds ratio (OR) = 4.93, p = 0.03], rape (OR = 4.23, p = 0.035), and political persecution (OR = 9.28, p = 0.006). Most common self-reported health problems were headaches (29.9%), sexual dysfunction (26.1%), chronic pain (12.7%), and gastrointestinal symptoms (11.2%).

PMID:
17984770
DOI:
10.1097/NMD.0b013e318142ca0b
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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