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Region Hovedstaden - en del af Københavns Universitetshospital

Event-related Potential in Trauma-Affected Refugees

Projekt: Typer af projekterProjekt

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Refugee victims of severe traumatization have endured experiences that often lead to a complex form of PTSD, which apart from the core symptoms of hyperarousal, flashbacks and anxiety encompasses persistent and pervasive impairments in affective, self and relational functioning. Avoidance often takes the form of social isolation, making patients susceptible to depression and cognitive understimulation. In our clinical experience, patients will often display hyperarousal to unpredictable social situations, while being under engaged in relation to routine activities. We would expect this relegation of resources to reflect in deficits in psychophysiological measures.
In contrary to PTSD among traumatized refugees, research into the neuropsychological deficiencies schizophrenia is common. While being recognized as two distinctive diagnostic entities, PTSD and schizophrenia also bare many resemblances and both common psychopathology and psychological mechanisms have been suggested. Despite the clinical common ground no research to the best of our knowledge has looked into common neural underpinnings of these different diagnoses.

To provide a better understanding of psychophysiological characteristics of traumatized refugees and investigate the correlation between the psychophysiological measures and symptom severity. Furthermore we will compare the deficiencies in psychophysiological measures in our patient group with a group of patients with schizophrenia. The choice of EEG measures reflects an aim to potentially implement knowledge gained from this study into routine clinical assessment of trauma-affected refugees, as well as an objective measure of treatment outcome.

Number of participants (N)

Adult trauma-affected refugees

Description of data and data collection
The study will include 30 trauma-affected refugees with PTSD recruited at The Competence Center for Transcultural Psychiatry (CTP). 30 healthy control refugees matched on age, country of origin and socioeconomic status will be recruited through www.forsø and by use of snowball sampling. We will measure neural activity with electroencephalography (EEG) using a psychophysiological battery which tests sensory-gating, sensorimotor gating, selective attention and mismatch negativity. Study participants will undergo one day of interview and one day of psychophysiological assessment.

Expected results
We expect a difference in the psychophysiological measures between trauma-affected refugees with and without chronic PTSD. The deficiencies will correlate with symptom severity. Compared to the control group the deficiencies in the psychophysiological measures in trauma-affected refugees with chronic PTSD will be closer to those in patients with schizophrenia.



  • Sundhedsvidenskab - Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders, including traumatic experience in childhood, neurophysiology, Observational study, Transcultural Psychiatry

ID: 49155296