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Physical Correlates of Torture Exposure in Karen Refugees

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We explored associations between torture history and physical health symptoms of 111 Karen refugees newly arrived to the United States. We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of electronic health data collected at the initial refugee health-screening exam. Unique to this analysis was the exploration of relationships between torture exposure, war trauma, and presenting physical and psychological health issues. We identified no unique effects of torture on physical health above and beyond trauma exposure. Overall, in our sample we found a high prevalence of underlying infectious conditions, pain, and hypercholesterolemia, regardless of torture exposure. We discuss effects of war trauma and torture experiences on physical exam findings and implications for future research.
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Keywords: Burma; Karen refugee; Myanmar; health; torture; war trauma

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA 2: School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA 3: HealthEast Care System, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

Publication date: February 17, 2017

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