War-related trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder prevalence among undergraduate students in Iraq in 2010
AbstractObjectives: Determining the prevalence rates of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among undergraduate students in the University of Kerbala in Iraq and its association with students’ demographic variables.Methods: A cross-sectional self-administered questionnaire survey was conducted among one third undergraduate students in the University of Kerbala in Iraq in 2010 (5446 students). The questionnaire used depended on a reliable and valid source PTSD check list-civilian (PCL-C) questionnaire.Results: The internal reliability of the 17 questions about PTSD symptoms in the PCL-C section was high (Cronbach’s α was 0.90). More than three quarters (79%) of the undergraduate students reported life-time exposure to trauma, and this was significantly more among males (15% higher). Road traffic accidents formed the majority of accidents (71%) while war-related traumas were reported in about one fifth of the participants. On the contrary, PTSD prevalence was low (3%), and it was more common among female and younger students, however, PTSD symptoms were common (>30%). The reasons behind low PTSD prevalence in Iraq and surrounding countries might be related to sociocultural factors and higher population resilience. Finally, a prediction model suggested through structural equation modelling incorporating all potential predictors showed gender as the sole significant predictor.Conclusion: Four fifths of undergraduate students were exposed to life-time trauma mostly road traffic accidents, and these were more among males. War-related trauma was also prevalent among one third; however, PTSD was at a much lower prevalence and more in females. Accident management premises should keep mental drawbacks in mind on treating violence victims.
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