Traumatic experiences and psychological reactions among women in Bosnia during the war

Med Confl Surviv. Jul-Sep 2000;16(3):281-90. doi: 10.1080/13623690008409525.


Internally displaced women (N = 77) in Bosnia were interviewed before and after participating in group psychotherapy during the war in 1994 and 1995 to gain background information and assess stress exposure and stress reactions. Nearly all the women had experienced loss of family members, many acts of violence and mental health impairment. The participants had high scores on a symptom scale, in terms of intrusive, avoidance and arousal symptoms and somewhat lower on depression/powerlessness items. After participating in short-term group therapy they reported significant reduction in symptoms. The women who had experienced most traumatic events and had most symptoms, reported greatest reduction in symptomatology. Some of the implications of the findings are discussed and it is concluded that group therapy may be helpful in war conditions, even though traditional preconditions for psychotherapy are not present.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Self-Help Groups*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / rehabilitation*
  • Warfare*
  • Women's Health*