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Glob Public Health. 2015 Jan;10(1):55-70. Epub 2014 Nov 3.

Social interaction in the aftermath of conflict-related trauma experiences among women in Walungu Territory, Democratic Republic of Congo.

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1
a Department of International Health , Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health , Baltimore , MD , USA.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to understand the relative contribution of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)- and non-PTSD-associated reductions in social interaction among a group of adult Congolese women (N = 701) who have experienced multiple and different traumatic events and are participating in a village livestock microfinance programme. The two main outcomes were frequency of (1) family/community members visiting women's homes and (2) women visiting family/community members in their home. Bivariate and multivariable linear regression was used to understand relationships between multiple and grouped trauma experiences, PTSD, depression and social interaction. The majority of women (51.6%) reported rarely or never visiting family/community members or having family/community members visit the woman's home (54.9%). In the multivariable model, material deprivation was significantly associated with fewer visits in the woman's home. Exposure to certain conflict-related traumas, but not material deprivation, was significantly associated with fewer visits to the homes of family/community members. Increased symptoms of PTSD were significantly associated with fewer visitors in woman's home and fewer visits to the homes of family/community members. A better understanding of the social effects of conflict on individuals and local communities is necessary to support rebuilding of local communities.

KEYWORDS:

Democratic Republic of Congo; PTSD; conflict; social interaction; trauma

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