Gender, Social Support, and Posttraumatic Stress in Postwar Kosovo
The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
The effects of social support and traumatic experiences on mental health in conflict situations may be different by gender. The Kosovo Emergency Department Study was conducted in July and August 2001 to assess mental health 2 years after the end of the war in Kosovo. Of 306 emergency department patients (87.7% response rate), all were ethnic Albanian, 97.4% had experienced traumatic events, and 89.5% had posttraumatic stress symptoms. Women and persons who experienced more traumatic events had higher posttraumatic stress scores. Persons with social support had lower posttraumatic stress scores. In a final model, social support had a greater protective effect for women, whereas traumatic events had a greater detrimental effect on men. Two years after the war in Kosovo, there remained a high prevalence of posttraumatic stress symptoms, particularly among women with low social support. Interventions targeting social support may be important public health efforts in the postwar context.