Neuropsychological assessment of refugee survivors of war and torture : a thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Clinical Psychology at Massey University

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Massey University
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This thesis presents the results of psychological and neuropsychological assessment of a group of refugees with PTSD and a group of refugees with co-morbid TBI and PTSD. The study was designed to evaluate the outcome related to co-morbid TBI+PTSD, compared to the outcome of PTSD alone. In addition, this study also evaluated the methodological barriers in neuropsychological assessment of refugees. Eighteen refugees diagnosed with PTSD and depression participated in the study. Seven of them reported head injuries that had led to loss of consciousness, and were assigned to the TBI+PTSD group with the remaining eleven in the PTSD only group. Results indicated that neuropsychological assessment of refugees is challenging due to linguistic and cross-cultural barriers. Despite the adjustment of assessment according to suggestions from the literature, most refugees had difficulty doing the assessment, and for a small number assessment with the measures used in this study proved impossible. Nonparametric tests and boxplots were used to evaluate the differences between the TBI+PTSD group and the PTSD Only group in terms of psychological symptoms, self-reported functioning, and neuropsychological outcome. While no significant result was detected, possibly due to small sample size and high variability within the sample, the box plots revealed a number of tendencies that were consistent with the study's hypotheses.
Refugees, Post traumatic stress disorder diagnosis, Brain damage diagnosis, Neuropsychological tests, Psychology