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PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS AMONG AID WORKERS OPERATING IN DARFUR

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Abstract:

Aid workers operating in war zones are susceptible to mental health problems that could develop into stress and acute traumatic stress. This study examined the relationships between burnout, job satisfaction (compassion satisfaction), secondary traumatic stress (compassion fatigue), and distress in 53 Sudanese and international aid workers in Darfur (mean age = 31.6 years). Measures used were the Professional Quality of Life Questionnaire (ProQOL; Stamm, 2005), the Relief Worker Burnout Questionnaire (Ehrenreich, 2001), and the General Health Questionnaire (Goldberg & Williams, 1991). Results showed that burnout was positively related to general distress and secondary traumatic stress, and negatively related to compassion satisfaction. Sudanese aid workers reported higher burnout and secondary traumatic stress than did international workers. Results are discussed in light of previous findings. It was concluded that certain conditions might increase aid workers' psychological suffering and relief organizations need to create positive work climates through equipping aid workers with adequate training, cultural orientation, and psychological support services.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2008.36.3.407

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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