Objective: to assess the impact of prolonged displacement on the resilience of Eritrean mothers.
Methods: an adapted SOC scale (short form) was administered. Complementary qualitative data were gathered from study participants' spontaneous reactions to and commentaries on the SOC scale.
Results: Displaced women's SOC scores were significantly less than those of the non-displaced: Mean = 54.84; SD = 6.48 in internally displaced person (IDP) camps, compared to non-displaced urban and rural/pastoralist: Mean = 48. 94, SD = 11.99; t = 3.831, p < .001. Post hoc tests revealed that the main difference is between IDP camp dwellers and urban (non-displaced). Rural but traditionally mobile (pastoralist or transhumant) communities scored more or less the same as the urban non-displaced--i.e., significantly higher than those in IDP camps (p < 0.05). Analysis of variance confirmed that gender is critical: displacement has significantly negative effects on women compared to men: RR = .262, p < .001. SOC scores of urban and pastoralist/transhumant groups were similar, while women in IDP camps were lower scoring--RR = .268, p < .001.
Conclusions: The implications of these findings for health policy are critical. It is incumbent on the international health institutions including the World Health Organization and regional as well as local players to address the plight of internally displaced women, their families and communities in Eritrea and other places of dire conditions such as, for example Darfur in the Sudan.