Posttraumatic Stress Among Syrian Refugees: Trauma Exposure Characteristics, Trauma Centrality, and Emotional Suppression

Source of Publication

Psychiatry (New York)


© Washington School of Psychiatry. Objectives: This study revisited the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and examined a hypothesized model describing the interrelationship between trauma exposure characteristics, trauma centrality, emotional suppression, PTSD, and psychiatric comorbidity among Syrian refugees. Methods: A total of 564 Syrian refugees participated in the study and completed the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire, General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28), Centrality of Event Scale, and Courtauld Emotional Control Scale. Results: Of the participants, 30% met the cutoff for PTSD. Trauma exposure characteristics (experiencing or witnessing horror and murder, kidnapping or disappearance of family members or friends) were associated with trauma centrality, which was associated with emotional suppression. Emotional suppression was associated with PTSD and psychiatric comorbid symptom severities. Suppression mediated the path between trauma centrality and distress outcomes. Conclusions: Almost one-third of refugees can develop PTSD and other psychiatric problems following exposure to traumatic events during war. A traumatized identity can develop, of which life-threatening experiences is a dominant feature, leading to suppression of depression with associated psychological distress.

Document Type


First Page


Last Page


Publication Date