OBJECTIVE: The authors' goal was to determine the levels of trauma and
psychiatric symptoms in a randomly selected group of Cambodian refugees and
to determine the relationship between the amount of trauma experienced and
subsequent psychiatric symptoms. METHOD: Data on traumatic experiences and
symptoms of posttraumatic stress, dissociation, depression, and anxiety
were collected on 50 randomly selected Cambodian refugees who had resettled
in the United States. RESULTS: Subjects experienced multiple and severe
traumas and showed high levels of all symptoms measured. Forty-three (86%)
of the subjects met DSM-III-R criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder,
48 (96%) had high dissociation scores, and 40 (80%) could be classified as
suffering from clinical depression. Correlations between trauma scores and
symptom scores and among symptom scores were moderate to large.
CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that a high proportion of Cambodian
refugees who are not psychiatric patients suffer from severe psychiatric
symptoms and that there is a relationship between the amount of trauma they
experienced and the severity of these symptoms.