Psychological problems among aid workers operating in Darfur

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Saif Ali Musa
Abdalla A. R. M. Hamid
Cite this article:  Musa, S., & Hamid, A. (2008). Psychological problems among aid workers operating in Darfur. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 36(3), 407-416.


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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.

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Appreciation is due to reviewers including

Taha Amir

PhD

and Hamzeh Dodeen

Department of Psychology

United Emirates University

P.O. Box 17851

Al Ain

United Arab Emirates

Email

[email protected] or [email protected]

Dr. Saif Ali Musa, Assistant Professor of the Social Work Program, United Arab Emirates University, P.O. Box 17771, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Phone: (971) 50 7134072; Fax: (971) 3 7671705; Email [email protected]; Dr. Abdalla Hamid, Associate Professor of the Psychology Program, United Arab Emirates University, P.O. Box 17771, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Phone: (971) 50 7131 823; Fax: (971) 3 7670 453; Email: [email protected]

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