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Journal article

Psychological distress symptoms of individuals seeking HIV-related psychosocial support in western Kenya

REECE M., et al
Journal article citation:
AIDS Care, 19(10), November 2007, pp.1194-1200.
Taylor and Francis

While researchers in many western countries have documented the nature of psychological distress that is commonly present among individuals living with HIV, there has been virtually no research on the same topic among other high prevalence areas of the world, particularly in countries like Kenya. This study sought to document the nature of psychological distress among 397 individuals living with HIV in western Kenya and who were participating in psychosocial support groups in conjunction with their enrolment in HIV-related treatment. Psychological distress was assessed using the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), a 53-item self-report psychological inventory that asks individuals to recall symptoms experienced in the prior seven days. The levels of psychological distress in this sample were moderate with a substantial proportion of participants meeting the criteria that suggested a need for further psychiatric evaluation. Findings support the need for further assessments of the range and nature of psychological distress among the diverse communities of countries like Kenya and the need for greater attention to the inclusion of mental health services in the rapidly developing treatment and prevention programs in this region of the world.

Journal article Full text available online for free

Comparison of post-disaster psychiatric disorders after terrorist bombings in Nairobi and Oklahoma City

NORTH C. S., et al
Journal article citation:
British Journal of Psychiatry, 186(6), June 2005, pp.487-493.
Royal College of Psychiatrists

African disaster-affected populations are poorly represented in disaster mental health literature. The aim was to compare systematically assessed mental health in populations directly exposed to terrorist bombing attacks on two continents, North America and Africa.  Structured diagnostic interviews compared citizens exposed to bombings of the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya (n=227) and the Oklahoma City Federal Building (n=182).  Prevalence rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depression were similar after the bombings. No incident (new since the bombing) alcohol use disorders were observed in either site. Symptom group C was strongly associated with PTSD in both sites. The Nairobi group relied more on religious support and the Oklahoma City group used more medical treatment, drugs and alcohol. Post-disaster psychopathology had many similarities in the two cultures; however, coping responses and treatment were quite different. The findings suggest potential for international generalisability of post-disaster psychopathology, but confirmatory studies are needed.

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