Prior camp experiences and stress related to post traumatic stress disorder(PTSD)among refugees at Maheba refugee settlement in Zambia
Masuwa, Kaluso C.
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Traumatic experiences can have devastating impact on the victim, altering their physical, emotional, cognitive and social aspects of life. They can lead to the development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder common among victims of trauma, such as refugees. Very few studies have been conducted in Zambia in relation to the link between traumatic experiences and PTSD related symptoms. The aim of the study was therefore to find out the experiences of refugees at a camp in North Western Zambia (Maheba Refugee Settlement) prior to camp, and subsequent stress related to PTSD. The study was conducted on a representative sample of 234 participants, who were refugees at Maheba Refugee Settlement in August 2016. Data was collected through two instruments namely: a self-constructed questionnaire to capture demographical data and prior camp traumatic experiences that participants underwent, and a standardized Post Traumatic Symptoms Scale (PTSS) to ascertain the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD). Findings indicate that 66% of participants hadexperiencedphysical, emotional, economic and socialtraumatic events prior to camp; also on the PTSS scale 64% of participantshad symptoms of PTSD. Further, there was a strong relationship between prior camp experiences, specifically physical experiences andsymptoms related to PTSD. The study concluded that certain types of experiences suffered by refugees are closely related to PTSD, and a number of factors, especially man made factors, are attributed to this scenario. Implications for theory, research and practice were drawn and recommendationsare made for all stakeholders involved in the affairs of refugees, including the need to take keen interest in mental health as much as they promote physical health of refugees.
The University of Zambia