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J Trauma Stress. 2006 Feb;19(1):95-105.

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

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Center for Psychiatry Reichenau, University of Konstanz, Germany.


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.

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