Race-related PTSD: The Asian American Vietnam veteran

Abstract

This article presents a conceptual framework by which to understand race-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for the Asian American Vietnam veteran. The framework draws from cognitive schema theory, social behaviorism, the notion of cumulative racism as trauma, and the assumption that bifurcation and negation of one's bicultural identity is injurious. Classifications of race-related stress or trauma that may be experienced by Asian American Vietnam veterans, with exemplifying clinical case material, are presented. These types of stressors include being mistaken for Vietnamese, verbal and physical assaults that are race-related, death and near-death experiences that are race-related, racial stigmatization, dissociation from one's Asian identity, and marginalization. As studies of combat trauma and sexual assault forced the psychological stresses attendant to war and sexist oppression into public consciousness, so this article addresses psychological stress and trauma attendant to racism.

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Loo, C.M. Race-related PTSD: The Asian American Vietnam veteran. J Trauma Stress 7, 637–656 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02103012

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Key words

  • Asian Americans
  • Vietnam veterans
  • race-related post-traumatic stress disorder
  • race prejudice