Ten years after the genocide: trauma confrontation and posttraumatic stress in Rwandan adolescents

J Trauma Stress. 2006 Feb;19(1):95-105. doi: 10.1002/jts.20104.


A decade after the 1994 Rwandan genocide, we interviewed a total of 68 Rwandan orphans about their war experiences and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. The two samples comprised youth living either in a child-headed household (CHH) or in an orphanage. All had been exposed to extreme levels of violence and 41% had witnessed the murder of their own mother or father. Of the sample, 44% had PTSD. PTSD vulnerability was greater for youth who at the time of the study lived in CHH than those in an orphanage; it was also higher in those aged 8 to 13 during the outbreak of the genocide than those aged 3 to 7 at the time. Furthermore, a significant relationship was found between the number of traumatic experiences and subsequent stress responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Foster Home Care / psychology
  • Foster Home Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Homicide / psychology*
  • Homicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Rwanda / epidemiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / etiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires