In these turbulant times of war and poverty more and more people are forced to flee from their homelands. These refugees often experience mood and anxiety disorders. There is a need to know more about the aetiology of posttraumatic stress disorder in refugees to have the opportunity to give them the best possible treatment. This research has tried to give more insight into the relation between PTSD symptoms and the number of traumatic events that the refugees have experienced, the coping styles that they are using and the social support they experience. A model was created with the intention to explain most of the variance in PTSD symptoms. We have used the data of a group of 127 refugees, which were obtained during the intake phase of Centrum ’45 in Oegstgeest. These refugees have been examined with the following questionnaires: The Harvard Trauma Questionnaire, The Cope-Easy and the Resources Questionnaire. It appears that there is a positive correlation between the number of traumatic events and PTSS symptoms. The more traumatic events the refugees have experienced, the more symptoms they have. The use of a problem focused copingstyle and the number of PTSD symptoms also show a positive correlation. When refugees frequently use a problem focused copingstyle they show less PTSD symptoms. When they, on the other hand, frequently use an avoiding copingstyle they are more prone to PTSD symptoms. No relation appears to exist between a cognitive copingstyle and the number of PTSD symptoms. The results of a regression analysis show that the number of traumatic events, an avoiding copingstyle and the amount of social support from friends and acquaintances, that the refugees experience, best explains the variance in PTSD symptoms. This kind of insight in the risk and protective factors in the development of PTSD in refugees is necessary. This information helps to improve existing treatments or can be used to develop a new treatment; to give these people the best care possible. Implications for treatment are improving social relationships and the use of different copinstyles; especially discouraging the use of an avoidant copingstyle
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