Mental health problems among internally displaced persons in Darfur.Int J Psychol. 2010 Aug 01; 45(4):278-85.IJ
War victims are regarded as one of the highest risk groups for mental disturbances. This study investigated the effects of the Darfur conflict on mental health of 430 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from three camps located around Fasher and Nyala towns. A stratified random sampling technique was used to select participants. Male participants represented 50.6% of the sample while female participants represented 49.4%. The Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) were used in addition to a questionnaire measuring demographic variables and living conditions. It was hypothesized that high prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and of nonpsychotic psychiatric symptoms will be evident. Results showed a high dissatisfaction rate (72%) with living conditions among IDPs. There was also high prevalence of PTSD (54%) and general distress (70%) among IDPs. Female participants showed more somatic symptoms than their male counterparts. Married participants were more distressed, anxious, and showed more social dysfunction, while single ones reported more avoidance symptoms. Significant differences related to date of displacement were found in PTSD and hyperarousal. The group of IDPs displaced in 2003 scored higher on these scales than those displaced in 2004 and 2005. There was also significant difference related to date of displacement in distress, somatic symptoms, depression, anxiety, and social dysfunction. IDPs displaced in 2003 scored higher on these scales. Results are discussed in light of the study hypotheses and previous findings. It is concluded that three factors might affect the dissatisfaction of IDPs with living conditions inside camps. These are: lack of employment, unsuitability of food items, and lack of security around camps. It was recommended that psychological support services should be among the prime relief services provided by aid agencies.