Journal of Psychology in Africa

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Post-traumatic stress disorder as a public health concern in South Africa

David Edwards


This article briefly surveys the extent to which traumatic events are a feature of life all over Africa and provides a comprehensive review of research that documents the pervasiveness of traumatic events in South Africa and the prevalence of PTSD symptoms. The material reviewed includes statistics on crime, violence and accidents, research from clinical settings, and surveys. Several provide evidence for the causal link between traumatic events and the development of PTSD. These studies show that PTSD has been and continues to be a significant problem for public health in South Africa, affecting individuals in all sectors of society and as much a concern with respect to children as to adults.

Keywords: Africa, epidemiology, post-traumatic stress disorder, public health, South Africa, trauma

Journal of Psychology in Africa 2005, 15(2): 125–134
AJOL African Journals Online