Amrit Kaur

Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School


Committee Member

Ellen Koch, PhD

Committee Member

Carol Freedman-Doan, PhD

Committee Member

Tamara Loverich, PhD


This study uses qualitative methods to understand trauma from an indigenous perspective and to assess the validity of the DSM-IV (APA, 2000) diagnosis PTSD and depression in a remote Asian population. Twelve individuals were interviewed about their post-tsunami difficulties in the Indonesian province of Aceh. Contrary to our expectations, participants reported significant numbers of almost all DSM-IV-TR symptoms of PTSD and depression. Although the expressions of illness symptoms were colored by the local language and customs, participants reported few symptoms that could be seen as unique to this culture. These finding suggest that Western developed DSM-IV-TR symptomatology may be largely valid in this culture. The correspondence between PTSD symptoms, functioning and economic distress provides clear indication that the symptoms have a profound effect and should be assessed and treated in the context of how these are expressed in the local context.