Testing the validity of ICD-11 PTSD and CPTSD among refugees in treatment using latent class analysis


  • Maria Louison Vang Ulster University, School of Psychology and Psychology Research Institute and National Centre for Psychotraumatology, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
  • Sabrina Brødsgaard Nielsen Rehabilitation Center for Torture Survivors (RCT-Jutland), Haderslev, Denmark
  • Mikkel Auning-Hansen Rehabilitation Center for Torture Survivors (RCT-Jutland), Haderslev, Denmark
  • Ask Elklit National Centre for Psychotraumatology, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark




PTSD, Complex PTSD, ICD-11, International Trauma Questionnaire


Introduction: The WHO has proposed posttraumatic stress (PTSD) and Complex PTSD (CPTSD) trauma-related ‘sibling’-disorders in ICD-11. The proposal has received support from research among clinical and community samples alike but only few studies have tested the validity of these disorders in a sample of refugees using the International Trauma Questionnaire especially designed for assessment of ICD-11 PTSD and CPTSD.   

Methods: Latent class analysis was used to test the validity of the ICD-11 PTSD and CPTSD distinction in a heterogeneous group of 284 highly symptomatic refugees registered for treatment at a Danish treatment-center.  

Results: A two-class solution fit the data best. One group reported elevated levels of PTSD-symptoms and symptoms of affective dysregulation, and one group reported elevated levels of symptoms corresponding to CPTSD. The CPTSD group was considerably larger than the PTSD-group.

Discussion: The current study supports the ICD-11 distinction between PTSD and CPTSD in a sample of treatment-seeking refugees. The assistance of interpreters was needed for some of the participants which affected the reliability of the assessment.

Conclusion: The ICD-11 proposal for PTSD and CPTSD is supported in a heterogenous sample of refugees using the ITQ.


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How to Cite

Vang, M. L., Nielsen, S. B., Auning-Hansen, M., & Elklit, A. (2020). Testing the validity of ICD-11 PTSD and CPTSD among refugees in treatment using latent class analysis. Torture Journal, 29(3), 27–45. https://doi.org/10.7146/torture.v29i3.115367