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J Trauma Stress. 2002 Oct;15(5):389-95.

Mental health status of human rights workers, Kosovo, June 2000.

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Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


Human rights workers in humanitarian relief settings may be exposed to traumatic events that put them at risk for psychiatric morbidity. We conducted a cross-sectional survey in June 2000 to study the prevalence of psychiatric morbidity among 70 expatriate and Kosovar Albanian staff collecting human nights data in Kosovo. Among those surveyed, elevated levels of anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms were found in 17.1, 8.6, and 7.1% respectively. Multiple regression analysis revealed that human rights workers at risk for elevated anxiety symptoms were those who had worked with their organization longer than 6 months, those who had experienced an armed attack, and those who experienced local hostility. Our study indicates that human rights organizations should consider mental health assessment, care, and prevention programs for their staff.

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