2000, Number 1
Salud Mental 2000; 23 (1)
Caballero MA, Ramos L, Saltijeral MT
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ABSTRACTCrime is a problem that has ben scarcely investigated in our country among the people who have suffered it. Bibliographic reviews show that a set of psychological reactions appear frequently, and that sometimes these require psychological intervention. Unfortunately, nowadays crime problems and other forms of violence are prevalent, so there is a strong need for research on this respect.
This paper shows the psychological effects in Mexicans, derived from their experience of being burglarized at home. A qualitative study was developed with victims of this crime. Tape recorded interviews were made in twenty informants onemonth and six-months after.
The interviews were based on a thematic guide developed by considering the symptoms of the post-traumatic stress disorder, as described in the DSM-IV, and also by exploring other manifestations experienced by the informants. The analyses were done according to the characteristics of the house-burglary and the reactions developed by it, including the symptoms of such disorder.
Results showed that house burglary is experienced mainly as a severe violation or intrusion of their intimacy. The more common symptoms were the memories and the psychological distress when exposed to similar situations. The usually avoid thoughts and feelings related to the experienced burglary. Another frequent reaction is their concern for the future, and the prevalence of irritability and hypervigilance. Most of the victims experienced sadness and blue feelings.
The comparison of the symptoms one month and six months after, showed that although in general most of the reactions decreased with time, some of them persisted, producing much distress in the informants. The duration of some reactions and the suffering related to them are emphasized and discussed.