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Types and Forms of Traumatic Events Experienced by the Internally Displaced Persons Living in Maai Mahiu Camp during the 2007/8 Post Election Violence in Kenya 

Josephine Musau, PhD., - (Kenya Technical Teachers College); Alice Munene, PsyD., and Lincoln Khasakhala, PhD., - (Daystar University)

Abstract

Traumatic experiences have a psycho-social impact, not only on the survivors of such experiences, but also on the society. Over the years, it has become evident that a significant number of the survivors of potentially traumatic events such as human conflicts and violence may suffer from long-term psychosocial, physiological, emotional and spiritual effects. The resultant post-election violence (PEV) following the disputed 2007 presidential result in Kenya exposed to inhuman treatment and horrific experiences. Therefore, this study sought to document the types and forms of traumatic events the survivors were exposed to at baseline. A sample of 139 respondents was obtained through purposive sampling. The findings indicated that Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) underwent displacements, loss of property and significant others, sexual atrocities, and suffered traumatic grief. These severe traumatic events resulted in highly prevalent PTSD and DD disorders, at 62.1% and 63.3% respectively. Based on the study findings, it was recommended that the government through the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, other interested stakeholders and psychological service providers could have trained personnel to handle the aftermath of human conflict appropriately to avert human suffering. The study used a pretest-posttest quasi-experimental design. The target population comprised both adult females and males, from a total of 196 households. The sample was obtained through purposive sampling where the respondents filled out: a socio-demographic, Severity of Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms-Adult* *National Stressful Events Survey PTSD Short Scale (NSESSS) and Beck’s depression questionnaires.The findings indicate that IDPs resident at Maai Mahiu camp underwent severe traumatic events, which resulted in highly prevalent PTSD and DD disorders at 62.1% and 63.3%, respectively. Based on these study findings, it was recommended that stakeholders and psychological service providers should have trained personnel to handle the aftermath of human conflicts appropriately to avert human suffering.

Key words:survivors of human conflict, traumatic occurrences and experiences, violence.

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