Development of an inventory for measuring war-related events in refugees

Michael Hollifield, Valorie Eckert, Teddy D. Warner, Janis Jenkins, Barry Krakow, James Ruiz, Joseph Westermeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Knowledge about the range of war-related events experienced by refugees is lacking. This initial report of the New Mexico Refugee Project (NMRP) details the development of the Comprehensive Trauma Inventory (CTI), the first empirically developed instrument that measures war-related events in community-dwelling refugees. Both expert and participant methods using quantitative and qualitative approaches were used to broaden knowledge about the range of war-related experiences in refugees. The CTI-164, developed by expert rational methods, was administered to 36 Kurdish and 31 Vietnamese refugees along with an in-depth interview (IDI) and five other quantitative instruments measuring symptoms, impairment, and social support. Focus groups (FGs) were also conducted. Text and descriptive analyses, t tests, and correlations were used to analyze data. Refugees reported an average of 150 war-related events on the CTI-164, more than in other studies. IDIs and FGs revealed 123 war-related events and event types that were not on the CTI-164 or other measures currently used. Refugees reported multiple chronic symptoms and significant impairment in daily functioning. The CTI-164 was modestly correlated with symptoms and impairment. The definable number and type of war-related events endured by refugees is greater than in previously published research. Expert rational methods are not adequate to develop an instrument to define war-related events and measure their association with health outcomes. Participatory and qualitative methods reveal events and event types that have not been previously defined. The CTI warrants further testing after revision to incorporate items and event types determined by qualitative methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-80
Number of pages14
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was fully supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, grant # ROI 59574. To the late Senator Paul Wellstone, whose ardent support for refugees helped make this research possible.


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