Prevalence Of Violence-Related Traumatic Events And Symptoms Of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Among The Congolese Refugees In Uganda.
Ainamani, Herbert E
Olema, David K
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Introduction: Following the waves of violence in Congo after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, there has been an influx of Congolese refugees into Uganda and more have continued to flock into the country up to date. These refugees were exposed to multiple traumatic events that continue to be detrimental to their psychological well-being. Whereas there has been vast research on the prevalence of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) based on a single most traumatizing event, literature on the relative contribution of cumulative exposure to different traumatic events and PTSD symptom severity is still scanty in refugee or trauma studies. Objective: In this study, we investigated the prevalence and association of violence-related traumatic events of war to PTSD symptom severity among the Congolese refugees in Nakivale refugee settlement in Uganda. Methods: Using the Post-traumatic Symptom Scale Interview (PSSI)and a prepared checklist of war and non-war traumatic events, exposure to different types of traumatic events and their association with PTSD symptom severity was assessed. Results: We found a high prevalence of different types of violence-related traumatic events among our sample of the Congolese refugees with 99%, 98.2% and 98.2% of the participants having experienced or witnessed War, Community, and Family related traumatic events respectively. Additionally the prevalence of Community and Family related traumatic events within one month prior to the interview was at 84.7% and 57.7% respectively. PTSD symptom severity was positively associated with a higher number of and the type of traumatic events. Conclusion: Congolese refugees experienced a number of violence-related traumatic events and they continued to experience the same in the form of community and family related traumatic events in re-settlement. Repeated number of traumatic events was associated with increasing severity of PTSD symptoms. Our results highlighted the need for better provision of psychological services among refugee populations as well as their protection against continued violence-related traumatic events in their families and communities of resettlement.