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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(11), 5333-5348; doi:10.3390/ijerph10115333

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Urban Violence: An Anthropological Study

* ,
Federal University of São Paulo, Rua Borges Lagoa, 570, Vila Clementino, São Paulo, SP 04038-020, Brazil These authors contributed equally to this work.
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 August 2013 / Revised: 2 October 2013 / Accepted: 10 October 2013 / Published: 25 October 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trauma, Addiction and Criminality)
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The study aimed to understand how “distress” is experienced by patients with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the social-cultural context of São Paulo, Brazil, an urban environment marked by social inequality and high levels of violence. A qualitative study was conducted between 2008 and 2010 with PTSD patients (F43.1, ICD-10, 1997) who had been victims of robberies and kidnappings in São Paulo. Dense ethnographic observations were carried out, as well as in-depth semi-structured interviews with ten adult patients. The analysis method used was based on anthropology. The results show that it is particularly important to distinguish between perceptions of different forms of the experience of social suffering and perceptions of health and illness held by victims and biomedical experts. The cause of PTSD is more often associated with the personal problems of the victim than with the specific traumatic event. The distress described in terms of what is considered a “normal” reaction to violence and what is considered a symptom of PTSD. The findings indicate that the diagnostic of PTSD can be understood in relation to the different contexts within a culture. The ethnographic approach serves not only to illuminate individual suffering but also the social suffering experienced by the residents of São Paulo.
Keywords: urban violence; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); qualitative research; anthropology urban violence; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); qualitative research; anthropology
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Da Silva-Mannel, J.; Andreoli, S.B.; Martin, D. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Urban Violence: An Anthropological Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 5333-5348.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert