Date of Award

Fall 12-20-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Jeffrey Ashby, PhD, ABPP

Second Advisor

Joel Meyers, PhD

Third Advisor

Greg Brack, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Ibrahim Kira, PhD

Fifth Advisor

Don E. Davis, PhD


Refugee torture survivors often present with a myriad of psychological challenges, such as posttraumatic stress and depression, stemming from their exposure to torture and other pre- and post-settlement experiences (Gong-Guy and colleagues, 1991). The present study examined the moderating effect of four coping processes (i.e., family support, religious beliefs, political beliefs, and will to survive) on the relationship between cumulative torture and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among a sample of 204 (N=204) adult refugee torture survivors. Subjects completed a demographic questionnaire, the Torture Severity Scale (TSS; Kira, Lewandowski, Templin, Ramaswamy, Ozkan, Hammad, & Mohanesh, 2006), the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-2; Weathers, Keane, & Davidson, 2001), and the Means of Survival Scale (MOS; Kira, 2012). Twenty-three percent (N = 74) of the sample endorsed clinically significant levels of PTSD. Torture and PTSD were positively associated, indicating that greater exposure to cumulative torture is associated with greater trauma symptoms (r[2] = .18, pppppp2 = .039; F (2,323) = 7.55, p=.001. None of the interaction terms examined accounted for significant variation in PTSD symptoms. Study findings will help counseling psychologists devise the most appropriate treatment plans and strategies to treat posttraumatic stress reactions among refugee torture survivors, as well as inform future interventions developed for this vulnerable population.