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Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2007 Apr;42(4):307-15. Epub 2007 Feb 13.

Gender differences in traumatic life events, coping strategies, perceived social support and sociodemographics among postconflict displaced persons in Ethiopia.

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Department of Psychiatry, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.



Towards the end of civil war in Ethiopia leading to Eritrea's independent government in 1991, a large number of persons were displaced from their homes in Eritrea, to reside in shelters in Addis Ababa. We evaluate trauma, coping, social support and sociodemographics among them particularly in relation to gender.


From each randomly selected household in these shelters, a subject was interviewed, yielding 1200 subjects in all.


Men, compared to women, reported significantly higher physical abuse during childhood in the family, traumatic childhood life events, experience of most traumatic life events related to displacement, and perceived social support. Women reported higher emotion-oriented coping whereas men reported higher task-oriented coping. Traumatic events were associated with higher emotion-oriented coping in both genders, and with higher task-oriented coping in women. Perceived social support was correlated positively with task-oriented coping in both genders, but was not associated with traumatic life events.


Severe trauma is associated with coping and perceived social support in part differently with regards to gender. Long-term help initiatives to alleviate the psychological wounds lasting for years should incorporate these gender-specific aspects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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