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Activism Among Survivors of Torture

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posted on 28.06.2013, 00:00 by Emily M. Bray
Research suggests that those survivors of torture who were activists, and targeted due to this connection, may have better psychological functioning compared to non-activists. The benefits of activism may involve the ability to find meaning in the trauma, trauma preparedness, maintenance of alternative worldviews, and social support. The aim of the current study is to investigate if activists, when compared with their non-activist counterparts, demonstrate fewer symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at intake into a treatment program for torture survivors. Furthermore, activism was evaluated as a potential moderator of the negative psychological impact of sexual abuse. Participants in this study were 245 clients accepted into the torture treatment program. The presence of political party affiliation and the Continuous Activism Status Checklist (CASC) were used as measures of activism. Results indicated that activism was significantly related to fewer PTSD symptoms at intake in the program, but not fewer symptoms of depression. Furthermore, activism moderated the relationship between sexual abuse and PTSD symptomatology, but once again not symptoms of depression. These results suggest that participation in activism may help buffer the negative psychological impact of torture, even when considering the particularly powerful effect of sexual trauma.



Birman, Dina



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University of Illinois at Chicago

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trickett, edison Hebert-Beirne, Jennifer

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