Identifying post-traumatic stress disorder in women of refugee background at a public antenatal clinic

Rebecca Blackmore, Kylie M. Gray, Glenn A. Melvin, Louise Newman, Jacqueline A. Boyle, Melanie Gibson-Helm

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to investigate symptomatology and diagnoses of PTSD and subthreshold PTSD and the screening properties of the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ) within a sample of Dari-speaking women of refugee background receiving antenatal care. This cross-sectional study administered the HTQ to 52 Dari-speaking women at a public pregnancy clinic. The trauma module from the Structured Clinical Interview (SCID-5) was administered. Interview material was presented to an expert panel, blinded to the HTQ screening results, in order to achieve consensus diagnoses of PTSD using Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5) criteria. Three women (5.8%) met DSM-5 criteria for PTSD. Eleven women (21.15%) met criteria for subthreshold PTSD, defined as meeting two or three of the DSM-5 criteria domains. A comparison of HTQ cut-off scores was conducted and a score of ≥ 2.25 on the HTQ demonstrated excellent sensitivity 1.00 (95% CI 0.29–1.00) and specificity 0.76 (95% CI 0.61–0.87) in detecting PTSD; however, a wide confidence interval for sensitivity was found. A cut-off score of ≥ 2 provided the best balance of sensitivity 1.00 (95% CI 0.72–1.00) and specificity 0.80 (95% CI 0.65–0.91) when assessing for subthreshold PTSD. Screening for perinatal PTSD for women of refugee background is recommended, in order to identify those at risk of DSM diagnosis and also those women experiencing distressing PTSD symptomatology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-198
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Women's Mental Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Post-traumatic
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychological trauma
  • Refugees
  • Stress disorders

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