Exploring Contextual Trauma in Cambodia: A Sociointerpersonal Perspective on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Stephanie E. Armes, Desiree M. Seponski, Sovandara Kao, Sareth Khann, Cindy J. Lahar, Chalandra M. Bryant, Brian E. Bride, Kanudra S. Wickrama, Poch Bunnak, Tanja Schunert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Trauma literature has proposed multiple theories of trauma development, maintenance, and transmission, which has led to a lack of clarity surrounding trauma in individuals, families, and communities. We investigated the impact of community-level trauma experiences on individual posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms using a sociointerpersonal model of PTSD (Maerker & Horn, 2013). A nationally representative sample (N = 2, 690) of Cambodian households across all regions of the country was surveyed regarding individual trauma experiences during and after the Khmer Rouge regime, symptoms of PTSD, and current stressors. Individual experiences of war trauma and current stressors were aggregated based on the district in which each individual lived. District mean and individual war trauma and current stressors were included in a multilevel model as predictors of individual levels of PTSD. Findings indicated that mean trauma experiences, β =.05, p <.001, and current stressors, β =.10, p <.001, in the district in which individuals live were positively and significantly associated with their individual PTSD symptoms. Individual war trauma, β =.02, p <.001, and current stressors, β =.08, p <.001, were also positively and significantly associated with individual PTSD symptoms. District trauma experiences accounted for 7% of the variance in individual PTSD symptoms, R 2 Level 1 =.21, R 2 Level 2 =.80. Additionally, current stressors at both the individual and district levels had a greater impact on individual PTSD symptoms than war trauma at either level of the model. Implications for policy and intervention are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-107
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The data collection for this article was funded by Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Maryknoll, and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). We are grateful for the support of our colleagues, Channika Pot, Laura Bebra Saupe, Hema Nhong, Dr. Luise Ahrens, and Dr. Kevin Conroy.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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