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Self-image, war psychotrauma and refugee status in adolescents


The aim of this study was to assess how war psychotrauma, refugee status and other factors relate to self-image. Psychotherapeutic-psychiatric interview, the Offer Self-Image Questionnaire (OSIQ), questionnaires for measuring war stressors, posttraumatic stress reactions (PTS-reactions), depression and general data were administered. A total of 322 adolescents from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia were included in the study. In 60.32% of the examinees, more than four war stressors were encountered. In 13.68% of the examinees, high PTS-reactions occurred. The refugees had nearly four times higher odds (aOR=3.66; 95% CI=1.63–8.2; p<0.01) of having a higher Offer score for the sexual attitudes subscale. Lower war stress had 0.28 times lower odds (aOR=0.28; 95% CI=0.11–0.71; p<0.01) of having a higher Offer score for the sexual attitudes subscale. More severe PTS-reactions had six times higher odds (aOR=6.15; 95% CI=1.7–22.2; p<0.01) of reaching a higher Offer score for the emotional tone subscale. War psychotrauma and refugee status are related to poorer adjustment only in some of the OSIQ subscales. Practical measures of joined sexually preventive/therapeutic activities are proposed, as well as educational and preventive/therapeutic psychotrauma models.

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Correspondence to I. Begovac.

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Begovac, I., Rudan, V., Begovac, B. et al. Self-image, war psychotrauma and refugee status in adolescents. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 13, 381–388 (2004).

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Key words

  • adolescents
  • war trauma
  • refugees
  • self-image
  • depression