Exposure to Armed Conflict and Prevalence of Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms Among Young Adults in Kashmir, India

In this study, the relationship between armed conflict and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms was explored in a sample of young adults from Northern Kashmir in India. The sample included 797 college students. Exposure to conflict was assessed by the Exposure to Kashmir Conflict Checklist, made up of 16 different types of conflict-related events. PTSD symptoms were assessed through the PCL–C, a 17-item self-rating questionnaire typically used as a screening instrument. Nearly half of the respondents (49.81%) were found to be in the diagnosable range for PTSD. The nature and frequency of some of the conflict-related events emerged as risk factors associated with PTSD. Logistic regression analysis revealed that a family member being dead and missing, personally being threatened with death, witnessing distressful media portrayal of conflict, a feeling of living in the conflict, and a higher level of personal exposure to conflict emerged as risk factors associated with PTSD symptomatology. This study provides evidence of PTSD being prevalent among Kashmir youth and sheds light on the associated risk factors. The study highlights the trauma and distress that is inherent to the lives of the people of Kashmir and points to the urgent need for governmental and nongovernmental bodies to recognize, understand, and address the prevalent psychological morbidity in this understudied population.

Rayees Mohammad Bhat, B. Rangaiah
Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, Volume 24, 2015 - Issue 7, Taylor and Francis Online