Normal grief and its correlates in Lubumbashi, an urban city in the Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Katabwa Kabongo Joe
  • Mala Ali Mapatano
  • Tshibangu Manyonga
  • Costa Kazadi Mwadianvita
  • Mutombo Valérien
  • Wembonyama Stanis
  • Mukendi Kavulu
  • Kashala Espérance


Introduction: grief is a universal experience faced at one time or another by most people during their lives. Response to grief and bereavement losses can lead to psychiatric disorders such as mood disorders, post traumatic responses, insomnia loss of appetite, anxiety, and depression. The aim of our study is to value in our community the physical and psychological complications of a normal grief. Methods: we conducted a cross-sectional study from mach 2012 to September 2012 in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo. Two questionnaires, the Hamilton Anxiety Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory scale were used as screening tool. A snow ball sampling method was performed and the questionnaires were administered only to those who consented to participate in the study. Results: a total of 78 subjects were included in the study of which 87.2% were aged between 14-50 years old. The majority of the subjects were female 65.4%, and about a quarter (28%) was unemployed. The main correlates of the grief reported in the present study were being treated as witchcraft or accused to beresponsible of a death (68%), being rejected by family and not being allowed to inherit (32%). Being homeless was reported in 26 %. The main psychological symptoms reported were psychological distress after 1 year (65%) and related physical health problems after the death (72%). Depression andmild anxiety were the most reported disorders, with respectively 92.3% and 74.4% of the subjects. Conclusion: grief in Lubumbashi is associated with a large number of psychological, social and health problems. Health problems such as gastric is, high blood pressure were often reported. Being accused of witchcraft remains the main social impact. Depression and anxiety were the most psychological problem associated with grief.

The Pan African Medical Journal 2016;24

Author Biographies

Katabwa Kabongo Joe
Department of Internal Medicine, Psychiatry Unit, University of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo
Mala Ali Mapatano
Department of Public Health, University of Kinshasa (UNIKIN), Democratic Republic of Congo
Tshibangu Manyonga
Department of Psychology, Excellence Centre, University of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo
Costa Kazadi Mwadianvita
Department de Science Biomedical University of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo
Mutombo Valérien
Department of Neurology, University of Mbuji Mayi, Democratic Republic of Congo
Wembonyama Stanis
Department of Paediatrics, University of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo
Mukendi Kavulu
Neurology Unit, Mons Regional Hospital Complex and University Catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium, Department of Paediatrics, University of Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo
Kashala Espérance
Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Norway

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1937-8688