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Transgenerational effects of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda: A post-traumatic stress disorder symptom domain analysis

Susan Rudahindwa, Sciprofile linkLeon Mutesa, Eugene Rutembesa, Jean Mutabaruka, Annie Qu, Derek E. Wildman, Sciprofile linkStefan Jansen, Sciprofile linkMonica Uddin
Published: 14 January 2020
AAS Open Research , Volume 1; doi:10.12688/aasopenres.12848.2

Abstract: Background: A number of studies have investigated transgenerational effects of parental post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its repercussions for offspring. Few studies however, have looked at this issue in the African context. Methods: The present study addresses this gap by utilizing a Pearson correlation matrix to investigate symptom severity within the three Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV) PTSD symptom domains in mothers exposed to the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda (n=25) and offspring (n=25), and an ethnically matched set of controls (n=50) who were outside of Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. All mothers were pregnant with the offspring included in the study during the time of the genocide. Results: Total PTS score was significantly (pNR3C1) locus, an important stress modulating gene, and PTSD symptom domains, finding an association between DNA methylation and re-experiencing among genocide-exposed mothers that exceeded any other observed associations by approximately two-fold. Conclusions: This is the first report, to our knowledge, of a symptom-based analysis of transgenerational transmission of PTSD in sub-Saharan Africa. These findings can be leveraged to inform further mechanistic and treatment research for PTSD.
Keywords: stress / Treatment / Africa / PTSD / genocide / transgenerational / Traumatic / Symptom Domains

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