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It has been widely reported that exposure to war-related trauma leads to psychological distress in human beings, and it has been hypothesized that this psychological distress may be compounded when people leave their war-torn countries and begin their lives as refugees in a new country. In this study, we explored whether a systematic relationship existed between the level of traumatic wartime events experienced by Bosnian residents and refugees living in the western United States and their levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. We also explored whether differences in levels of these mental health problems existed between Bosnian residents and refugees. The results indicated that level of exposure to wartime trauma was significantly correlated to mental health problems on all three dimensions. Bosnian refugees reported significantly greater levels of PTSD than members of their Bosnian resident cohort, but not greater levels of anxiety or depression.

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This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, published by Springer. Copyright restrictions may apply. DOI: 10.1007/s11469-006-9036-6