Depressive Symptomology Among Namibian Adolescent Refugees

Symptoms of depression have been considered rare in sub-Saharan populations. Using a standard assessment measure of depressive symptomatology, the Beck Depression Inventory, the prevalence of symptoms of depression was obtained from a group (N = 56) of Namibian refugees (ages 12-23) residing in a sub-Saharan host country. Average time spent in host country 5 years. Contrary to expectations, the rates of self-reported symptoms were quite frequent, with many symptoms reported as moderate or severe by a large proportion of these youths. Using a stress model to explore these data, it was demonstrated that social support ameliorated the effects of chronic stress, as represented by the length of time in exile. It is argued that adaptation, acculturation, and adolescent developmental demands result in self-reports of depressive symptoms. These demands, however, are lessened in intensity by a strong social support system that is especially helpful early in the exile period.

Download the handbook by clicking on the button below. Arabic and Spanish versions will be available soon.