|(2012): Mental health 15 years after the killings in Rwanda : Imprisoned perpetrators of the genocide against the Tutsi versus a community sample of survivors Journal of Traumatic Stress. 2012, 25(4), pp. 446-453. ISSN 0894-9867. eISSN 1573-6598. Available under: doi: 10.1002/jts.21728||
Mental health 15 years after the killings in Rwanda : Imprisoned perpetrators of the genocide against the Tutsi versus a community sample of survivors
Objectives of this study were to compare rates of mental health disorders in Rwandan genocide perpetrators with those of genocide survivors and to investigate potential predictors of symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression for both groups. We expected high rates of mental disorders in both study groups and hypothesized that symptom severity would be predicted by female gender, older age, lower level of education, higher level of trauma exposure, lower level of agreement to reconciliation, and the participation in killing. Structured clinical interviews were carried out with 269 imprisoned perpetrators (66% men) and 114 survivors (64% women). Significantly more survivors than perpetrators met symptom criteria for PTSD (46% vs 14%) and suffered from anxiety symptoms (59% vs 36%). A substantial proportion of both groups suffered from clinically significant depression (46% vs 41%). PTSD severity in perpetrators was associated with trauma exposure, high levels of agreement to reconciliation, and no participation in killing; the severity of depression was associated with trauma exposure and no participation in killing. In the survivor sample, the severity of PTSD and depression were both correlated with female gender, trauma exposure, and low levels of agreement to reconciliation. Results suggest that both groups exhibit considerable psychiatric morbidity.
|(2011): Rates of trauma spectrum disorders and risks of posttraumatic stress disorder in a sample of orphaned and widowed genocide survivors European Journal of Psychotraumatology. 2011, 2(1), 6343. ISSN 2000-8198. eISSN 2000-8066. Available under: doi: 10.3402/ejpt.v2i0.6343||
Rates of trauma spectrum disorders and risks of posttraumatic stress disorder in a sample of orphaned and widowed genocide survivors
Background: During the Rwandan genocide of 1994, nearly one million people were killed within a period of 3 months. Objective: The objectives of this study were to investigate the levels of trauma exposure and the rates of mental health disorders and to describe risk factors of posttraumatic stress reactions in Rwandan widows and orphans who had been exposed to the genocide. Design: Trained local psychologists interviewed orphans (n=206) and widows (n=194). We used the PSS-I to assess posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the Hopkins Symptom Checklist to assess depression and anxiety symptoms, and the M.I.N.I. to assess risk of suicidality. Results: Subjects reported having been exposed to a high number of different types of traumatic events with a mean of 11 for both groups. Widows displayed more severe mental health problems than orphans: 41% of the widows (compared to 29% of the orphans) met symptom criteria for PTSD and a substantial proportion of widows suffered from clinically significant depression (48% versus 34%) and anxiety symptoms (59% versus 42%) even 13 years after the genocide. Over one-third of respondents of both groups were classified as suicidal (38% versus 39%). Regression analysis indicated that PTSD severity was predicted mainly by cumulative exposure to traumatic stressors and by poor physical health status. In contrast, the importance given to religious/spiritual beliefs and economic variables did not correlate with symptoms of PTSD. Conclusions: While a significant portion of widows and orphans continues to display severe posttraumatic stress reactions, widows seem to constitute a particularly vulnerable survivor group. Our results point to the chronicity of mental health problems in this population and show that PTSD may endure over time if not addressed by clinical intervention. Possible implications of poor mental health and the need for psychological intervention are discussed.