The prevalence and correlates of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among resettled Afghan refugees in a regional area of Australia
Hamrah, MS and Hoang, Ha and Mond, J and Pahlavanzade, B and Charkazi, A and Auckland, S, The prevalence and correlates of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among resettled Afghan refugees in a regional area of Australia, Journal of Mental Health ISSN 0963-8237 (2020) [Refereed Article]
Copyright 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Background: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common among resettled refugee populations
and may be particularly problematic for refugees who have resettled in rural and regional areas.
Aims: The aim of this study was to examine the occurrence and correlates of PTSD among Afghan refugees
resettled in a regional area of Australia, namely, Launceston, Tasmania.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted with 66 resettled Afghan refugees living in
Launceston using the Post Migration Living Difficulties Scale (PMLD) and Impact of Event Scale-
Revised (IES-R). Descriptive statistics and multivariable analysis of variables associated with a probable
diagnosis of PTSD were conducted.
Results: Approximately half of participants 48.8% (95% CI: 36.0–61.1%) met an operational definition
of probable PTSD diagnosis according to the IES-R. In multivariable logistic regression analysis, communication
difficulties (OR ¼ 14.6, 95% CI: 1.7–124.7), separation from family (OR ¼ 9.9, 95% CI:
1.8–55.5), and self-recognition of a mental health problem (OR ¼ 13.8, 95% CI: 2.4–80.0) were strongly
and independently associated with probable PTSD diagnosis. While most participants (81.2%) with a
probable PTSD diagnosis recognised that they had a mental health problem, less than half (46.9%)
had sought professional help for such a problem.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that there are high rates of PTSD, and relatively low uptake of
mental health care by sufferers, among resettled Afghan refugees in the regional area of Launceston,
Australia. Factors that might usefully be targeted in health promotion, prevention and early intervention
program include communication difficulties, issues of family separation and isolation and aspects
of "mental health literacy" likely to detract from help-seeking.
refugees, Afghan, Launceston, PTSD, mental health, mental health literacy