Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among University Students in Baghdad: A Preliminary Report

Abstract

Background: Iraqis have been exposed to wars, widespread violence and terrorist activities during the last 3 decades. Few reports were demonstrating the effect of exposure to wars and conflicts on mental health of Iraqis. Therefore, this study was carried out to report on the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among university students in Baghdad.Methods: A total of 319 university students from Baghdad University and their residency in Baghdad governorate were selected conveniently to participate in the study. Iraqi version of Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ) was used to measure the trauma exposure and PTSD. HTQ consisted of 28 items on exposure to traumatic events and PTSD was measured using 45 questions on trauma symptoms. A score > 2.5 was considered significant for meeting criteria of PTSD based upon the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV).Results: There were 22.9% of the respondents had symptoms of PTSD. There was no association between PTSD either with age or sex. PTSD symptoms were positively associated with the number of trauma events.Conclusion: High prevalence of PTSD was revealed among students of Baghdad University, Further research may clarify the epidemiology of PTSD in Iraq.Keywords: Posttraumatic stress disorder, Harvard Trauma Questionnaire, University student, Baghdad, war, widespread violence.