PTSD with secondary psychotic features among trauma-affected refugees: The role of torture and depression

Hannah Rathke , Stig Poulsen, Jessica Carlsson, Sabina Palic

14 Citationer (Scopus)


This cross-sectional study examined the prevalence of PTSD with secondary psychotic symptoms (PTSD-SP), its comorbidities, and its association with torture and depression in treatment-seeking refugees. Data were pooled from the Danish Database on Refugees with Trauma (DART). The sample represents approximately 90% of trauma-affected refugee-patients (N = 627) attending a Danish psychiatric outpatient clinic from 2008 to 2013. PTSD, secondary psychotic symptoms, and comorbidities were assessed with structured and routine clinical interviews. The association of PTSD-SP with torture and depression was investigated using hierarchical logistic regression. The prevalence of PTSD-SP in treatment-seeking refugees with PTSD was 30%. Among these, 44% fulfilled the criteria for Enduring Personality Change After Catastrophic Experience (EPCACE). Psychotic symptoms comprised hallucinations and persecutory delusions, often reflecting trauma-related themes. Comorbidity with depression was high (79%). Neither torture, nor other war-trauma (ex-combatant, imprisonment, civilian war trauma) predicted PTSD-SP, but comorbid depression did. Depression only explained a small amount of the total PTSD-SP variance. Results indicate that PTSD-SP is common in treatment-seeking refugees. However, its etiology is poorly understood. This highlights the need for further research to improve diagnosis and treatment for this patient group.
TidsskriftPsychiatry Research
StatusUdgivet - 2020


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