Rates and Impact of Trauma and Current Stressors Among Darfuri Refugees in Eastern Chad

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Darfur refugees face hardships associated with chronic displacement, including lack of basic needs and safety concerns. Psychiatric research on refugees has focused on trauma, but daily stressors may contribute more to variance in distress. This article reports rates of past trauma and current stressors among Darfur refugees and gauges the contribution of each to psychological distress and functional impairment. A representative sample of 848 Darfuris in 2 refugee camps were interviewed about traumatic events, stressors faced in the camps, psychological distress, and functional impairment. Basic needs and safety concerns were more strongly correlated with measures of distress (rs = .19–.31) than were war-related traumatic events (rs = .09–.20). Hierarchical regression supported models in which effects of trauma on distress were mediated by current stressors. Although warrelated traumatic events are the initial causes of refugees’ hardship, findings suggest that the day-to-day challenges and concerns in camps mediate psychological distress associated with these events.

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