Appraisals are a key feature in understanding an individual’s experience; this is especially important when the experience is a traumatic one. However, research is diminutive when looking at the interaction between trauma appraisals and culture in relation to posttraumatic stress disorder using qualitative methodologies. This study explored cultural differences in perceptions and appraisals of trauma using three qualitative focus groups with community members (n = 11) from collectivistic cultures who had experienced a traumatic event and three qualitative individual key informant interviews with mental health practitioners (n = 3) routinely working with trauma survivors. Using template analysis, eight emergent themes were highlighted from the data sets [(1) trauma and adjustment; (2) cultural and social roles; (3) traumatised self; (4) relationships; (5) external attribution; (6) future; (7) education; (8) language] that potentially have significant consequences for posttrauma psychological adjustment and recovery. Cumulatively, while a number of themes are similar to that which is emphasised in current literature (e.g. damaged self, negative appraisals of the world, others, future) a number of themes were also resonant and warrant further scrutiny. For instance, the importance and interconnectedness of the group to the individual and the impact trauma has on this; the importance of social roles, cultural appropriateness and violations of cultural values and norms; findings and implications are discussed.