Background: Indian adolescents are presumably exposed to a range of potentially traumatizing and negative life events. However, the knowledge on this area is relatively sparse. The present study aims to investigate the prevalence of exposure to potentially traumatizing and negative life events and the occurrence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among a specific sample of Indian adolescents. Method: A sample of 411 Indian 9th graders, (M = 14.15 years) from two private schools in Pune City answered a questionnaire about 1) socio-demographical background and 2) the direct or indirect exposure to 20 specific, potentially traumatizing and negative life events. Also, they filled out Part IV of the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ-IV) to assess their level of PTSD-symptoms. Results: 70% of the females and 85% of the males had been exposed to or witnessed at least one traumatizing or negative life event. The mean number of experienced events was 2.5. The most common events were: death of someone close, traffic accidents, serious illness, witnessing the injury or killing of others, and coming close to being injured or killed. The prevalence of PTSD was 10%. Males reported higher direct as well as indirect exposure than females to all events, while no significant gender difference was found in the prevalence of PTSD. Living in a single-parent household meant increased risk of developing PTSD. Conclusion: Exposure to potentially traumatizing events was comparable to that seen in similar studies in Western European youth samples. Prevalence of PTSD was also in the same range. This may be attributable to a number of protective factors associated with the specific sample. Males were exposed to more potentially traumatizing events than females, but contradictory to most other studies, no gender difference in prevalence of PTSD was seen. These differences in comparison to earlier studies might reflect cultural and national circumstances that distinguish this Indian sample from Western European countries previously investigated.
Cite this paper
Rasmussen, D. , Karsberg, S. , Karstoft, K. and Elklit, A. (2013) Victimization and PTSD in an Indian youth sample from Pune City. Open Journal of Epidemiology, 3, 12-19. doi: 10.4236/ojepi.2013.31003.
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