The process of posttraumatic adaptation of Tibetan ex-political prisoners
cultural psychiatry ; PTSD ; qualitative research ; posttraumatic adaptation
The study should be viewed within the field of cultural psychiatry. Its focus was on posttraumatic adaptation of Tibetan ex-political prisoners, in exile in India. Its inspiration were theoretical approaches that underline the role of culture in shaping personal experience and those emphasizing the capacity of victims to survive severe traumatic events.The aim of the qualitative study was to formulate a grounded theory explaining the experiences of Tibetan ex-political prisoners, before, during and after their imprisonment and during their stay in exile, with particular emphasis on cultural context. In the initial stages, questions that directed the research process were related to cultural factors responsible for resilience of Tibetan refugees. Qualitative approach was used to deepen the understanding of the significance of culture in the process of posttraumatic adaptation, as well as the meaning of Tibetan worldview and religious beliefs in processing traumatic experiences by the political prisoners. On further stages of the analysis, other themes emerged that required exploration: political context, and the process of transformation of political prisoners’ identity as a result of traumatic events due to political persecution.The result of the study is an elaborate local theory explaining the process of posttraumatic adaptation of Tibetan ex-political prisoners, which at the ; same time was found to be a process of transformation of their identity. The effect of this process is strenghtening their sense of ethnicity and their sense of significance of sacrificing their personal fate for the sake of their nation.