Psychiatric disorders among a sample of internally displaced persons in South Darfur

Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2015 Jun;61(4):358-62. doi: 10.1177/0020764014547061. Epub 2014 Aug 21.


Background: The violent armed conflict in Darfur has been ongoing for years getting the attention of human rights activists and mental health professionals.

Aim: The aim of this study was to assess psychiatric disorders in a sample of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in South Darfur.

Method: A cross-sectional observational study, as a part of the 'Darfur Campaign' organized by Arab Federation of Psychiatrists, assessing psychiatric disorders in a sample of internally displaced women using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID-I) (clinical version).

Results: Up to 25.7% of participants had lost a close family member or more in the violent clashes. Psychiatric diagnoses were found in 62.2% of the participants. The most frequently reported was post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reaching 14.9%, followed by depression 13.5% (among which 2.7% with psychotic features), while comorbid PTSD and depression reached 8.1% of participants. Patients with psychiatric diagnoses had an older age (36.6 years) (p = .024). Suffering from a psychiatric disorder was found to be associated with losing a family member in the conflict (p = .015), being 35.6% in patients with psychiatric diagnoses compared to 10.3% in those without losing a family member in the conflict (odds ratio (OR) = .7, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.25-18.28).

Conclusions: This study used a standardized tool for diagnosing psychiatric morbidity among refugees in Darfur to give as much as possible an actual description of the problems and psychiatric morbidity caused by human-made disasters. This study can help to lead to a more detailed and specific mental health service program much needed by this population.

Keywords: Darfur; Post-traumatic stress disorder; depression; internally displaced persons; mental health; psychiatric disorders.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arabs / psychology
  • Arabs / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Refugees / psychology*
  • Refugees / statistics & numerical data*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Sudan / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Violence / psychology
  • Warfare
  • Young Adult