Traumatic outcomes

Since the Second World War, empirical studies have investigated the relationship between mass violence, the refugee experience, and psychiatric morbidity. The earliest research focused on survivors of the Nazi concentration camps. (Z,8.,9 and 19) Shortly after the Second World War, Eitinger and his colleagues gave a detailed account of their medical and psychiatric examinations of concentration camp survivors. They postulated that the traumatizing process had a dual nature. They described the somatic traumas of captivity, such as head injury, hunger, and infections, as leading to a 'psycho-organic syndrome,' and the predominately psychological traumas as leading to other psychiatric disorders such as depression. Thygesan's studies of concentration camp survivors in Denmark revealed similar results.(l112) These early pioneering investigations of the psychosocial sequelae of the Nazi concentration camps established a preliminary baseline of traumatic outcomes for future generations of refugees, many of whom had experienced the trauma of similar experiences in Cambodia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and elsewhere.

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