What research tells us about the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of Sudanese refugees: a literature review

Transcult Psychiatry. 2009 Jun;46(2):300-15. doi: 10.1177/1363461509105820.


Sudan has long been one of the world's chief refugee-producing nations. Many researchers and practitioners have developed considerable interest in culturally-specific information on the mental health and wellbeing of Sudanese refugees. In this selective review of studies with Sudanese refugees, on mental health and psychosocial wellbeing, coping strategies and interventions, most quantitative studies found high rates of psychopathology, particularly PTSD and depression. However, some studies using mixed methods cautioned that while many Sudanese refugees have symptoms of traumatic stress, their functioning was not necessarily reduced, and they themselves often reported more concern with current stressors such as family problems than with past trauma. Some qualitative studies suggest that many Sudanese refugees use coping strategies such as silence, stoicism, and suppression. Few studies were available regarding appropriate interventions for Sudanese refugees and it remains unclear which aspects of standard treatments used by western-trained mental health practitioners may be beneficial for members of this population.

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Counseling
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / ethnology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Developing Countries*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Refugees / psychology*
  • Social Values
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / ethnology*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / therapy
  • Sudan / ethnology
  • Young Adult