The Prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Maai Mahiu Camp in Nakuru County, Kenya

Josephine N. Musau, Maxwell Omondi, and Lincoln Khasakhala

Journal of Internal Displacement, Volume 8, No. 1, 2018


This study examines the prevalence of PTSD and associated socio-demographic factors among IDPs following the post-election violence in Kenya in 2007/8. During the post-election violence, many IDPs were exposed to overwhelming and distressing experiences, and were left feeling frustrated and powerless. The onset of PTSD is a common adverse reaction to severe trauma and may persist for many years after initial exposure. Left untreated, PTSD may complicate other adverse mental health outcomes, presenting as comorbid depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders. The researchers focus on Maai Mahiu camp in Nakuru County, which at the time accommodated 786 IDPs. The inclusion criteria for participants consisted of traumatized adults who consented voluntarily to participate in the study. The findings indicate that there is a negative impact of post-election violence on survivors, resulting in a PTSD prevalence rate of 62.1 percent, which is comparable across genders (57.8 percent and 62.8 percent among male and female respondents respectively). The authors attribute the high PTSD prevalence to the fact that the respondents were IDPs who had been violated by neighbors who were known to them and who were still living in the same region, despite the fact that the country was at peace. The data reveal no socio-demographic variable as a predictor for PTSD development. Collectively, these findings indicate that traumatic experiences can have adverse effects that act to the detriment of survivors and their ability to recover and rebuild their lives. The authors call for governments to adequately plan for and program mental health interventions for IDPs.


Health | Mental Health