Post-traumatic stress disorder among widow survivors of the 1994 Rwandese genocide
Ngamije, K Schadrack
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Introduction. The1994 Rwandese genocide was Africa's largest in modern times, the quickest and most vicious yet recorded in human history. Hence, psychiatric morbidity, especially Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, could be expected among survivors of the tragedy, especially among widows who continue to experience the negative socio-economic consequences. No studies have been carried out to assess the psychological sequels, especially among this particular population of widows. Objectives. -To determine the prevalence of PTSD among widows, survivors of 1994 Rwandese genocide, fourteen years after the event -To correlate Socio-demographic patterns and PTSD" -To correlate various traumatic events which occurred in Rwandese genocide and PTSD among widow survivors. -To determine any other psychiatric disorder among widow survivors of Rwandese genocide Methodology. The study design was a cross-sectional descriptive study with sample size comprising of 110 widows, survivors of the 1994 Rwandese genocide, registered with AVEGA-AGAHOZO, selected randomly in.S different sites representing the five current provinces of Rwanda. Study instruments included: -A researcher-designed socio-demographic questionnaire. -The Harvard trauma questionnaire (modified). -The Impact of Events Scale-Revised. -The Alcohol, Smoking and substance Involvement Screening Test. -Beck's suicidality scale. -The structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV. Results The study involved 110 subjects aged between 36 and 6Syears.Most of the subjects had no formal education and were Catholics. Lifetime PTSD was found in 59 (53.2%) subjects while current PTSD was present in 31 (28.2%). Subjects with current PTSD showed severe symptoms. Among those with current PTSD; Major depressive disorder and alcohol abuse were the comorbid illnesses associated with statistical significance. Traumatic events related to PTSD with statistical significance were: Rape/sexual abuse, being tied up, being shot, being slashed, being ill and inaccessibility to care, being severely wounded, inability to help your relative in danger. Other significant associations with PTSD were: suicide ideation, suicide plan, and satisfaction with assistance. There was no statistical significant association between PTSD and age, level of education occupation, monthly income, being treated for another mental illness, family history of mental illness, assistance and trial of genocide perpetrators. Conclusion and recommendations Fourteen years after the 1994 Rwandese genocide, widow survivors do still suffer from PTSD and other psychiatric disorders mainly related to that tragedy. It was recommended that other studies among this population be conducted to confirm the findings and find the long-term effects of chronicity and devise intervention strategies.
SponsorhipUniversity of Nairobi
Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Nairobi