Author(s): Bauer M, Priebe S
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: In this study we examined psychopathology, diagnoses, social adjustment and the course of symptoms over two and a half years in East German refugees who suffered a crisis immediately after migrating to West Berlin just prior to or shortly after the breaching of the Wall in autumn 1989. METHODS: One hundred and twenty two refugees seeking crisis intervention in a psychiatric outpatient unit after arrival were investigated. Six months later 59\% and two and a half years after migration 30\% of the patients were re-examined. RESULTS: The patients had been exposed to prolonged stress situations in East Germany and were suffering from anxious-depressive syndrome with vegetative complaints. Sixty patients required more than one crisis intervention during the first six months after resettlement. During the follow-up period symptoms decreased significantly. At the second follow-up interview 81\% of the patients had a satisfactory job, and 89\% acceptable accommodation. CONCLUSIONS: Satisfactory classification of the psychiatric disorders induced in East German refugees by prolonged stress was not possible according to the DSM-III-R criteria. Initial crises are not necessarily associated with poor long-term adjustment after migration.
This article was published in Int J Soc Psychiatry
and referenced in Journal of Health Education Research & Development