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Trauma and resiliency : a study of refugees from Iran resettled in Sweden

by Ghazinour, Mehdi

Abstract (Summary)
Several single factors have been identified as related to coping with trauma and as protective factors. Several studies emphasize the importance of personality, core beliefs, coping strategies and social support. However little attention has been paid to resiliency. The aim of the study was to identify some determinants of an individual’s resiliency after experienced traumatic life events, and to address the issue of its relationship to personality characteristics, psychopathology, coping resources and strategies, social support, sense of coherence and quality of life.In the present study, a convenience sample of 100 Iranian refugees, 66 males and 34 females in the age range of 18-65 were investigated. All the subjects have experienced one or several traumatic life events as soldiers, political prisoners or have been victims of torture or have escaped from the country in a stressful way. At the time of the present investigation the mean time living in Sweden was for male subject’s 12.8 years and for female 11.8.Nine instruments were administered during individual sessions, Temperament, Character Inventory (TCI), The EMBU (Swedish acronym for own memories concerning upbringing), The Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90 – R), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Interview Schedule of Social Interaction (ISSI), Coping Resources Inventory (CRI), The Dysfunctional Attitude Scale (DAS), WHOQoL Group, 1995 (WHOQoL-100), The Sense of Coherence Scale (SoC).Several significant associations were found between personality temperament and character, parental rearing and psychopathology. When experiences of parental rearing were investigated in relation to psychopathology, male subjects scored high on parental rejection and were also more depressed compared to females. Although the individuals in the sample suffered from depression or anxiety, there were individuals that had adapted them-self well with the new life in Sweden and its demands. Nineteen percent of subjects who had low harm avoidance and high self directedness received more social support, had better coping strategies, higher sense of coherence and finally a better quality of life.This dissertation underscores the importance of multiple indicators when trying to understand resiliency. Personality traits, parental rearing, coping resources, social support and sense of coherence were the strongest predictors for resiliency. Having a systemic perspective helps to explain why some individuals are healthy and resilient despite traumatic life events, escaping from home country, applying for asylum, establishing a new home, learning new languages, to study and stablish and develop new bonds.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Umeå universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:MEDICINE; Psychiatry; Psychiatry; Psykiatri

ISBN:91-7305-531-X

Date of Publication:01/01/2003

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