Local clinician perspectives on cause, impact, and treatment of key expressions of distress in Cambodian children

Caleb J. Figge*, Cecilia Martinez-Torteya, Sopheap Taing, Sotheara Chhim, Devon E. Hinton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Child trauma and posttraumatic stress in Cambodia is highly prevalent, perpetuated within a postwar sociocultural context. The examination of locally meaningful expressions of distress is needed to provide culturally sensitive assessment and treatment of trauma-affected Cambodian children. The acceptable, feasible, and sustainable incorporation of expressions of distress into assessment and intervention development relies on key mental health professionals operating in Cambodia, who can provide invaluable perspectives on child trauma experiences in this particular sociocultural context. In this study, qualitative interviews were conducted with 15 Cambodian mental health professionals (MHPs) who work directly with trauma-affected Cambodian children. MHPs were presented with seven key posttraumatic problems derived from previous qualitative interviews with Cambodian children and caregivers, and discussed 1) the causes of these problems, 2) the impact of the problem on the child or those around them, 3) the current treatment for the problem in Cambodia, and 4) recommended treatment. MHPs provided unique insights and perspectives of trauma-affected children in the Cambodian context regarding key target problems, including palpitations, difficulties in school, headache, and thinking too much, and highlighted future directions for assessment and intervention. Recommendations are discussed in regard to programming design and organizational training development to promote culturally salient, feasible, and sustainable mental health service provision in Cambodia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-521
Number of pages16
JournalTranscultural Psychiatry
Issue number4
Early online date1 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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