Violation and healing of the spirit : psycho-social responses to war of Mozambican women refugees

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dc.contributor.advisor Prof. M.F. Joubert; Prof. C.S. van der Waal en_US
dc.contributor.author Sideris, Catherine Tina
dc.date.accessioned 2012-08-28T06:37:12Z
dc.date.available 2012-08-28T06:37:12Z
dc.date.issued 2012-08-28
dc.date.submitted 1999-01
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/6719
dc.description D.Litt et Phil. en_US
dc.description.abstract For over a decade, from the late 1970's to October 1992, a war raged in Mozambique that resulted in what has been described as, one of the "most terrible genocides in the history of Africa". Over 4 million people were displaced during this war. Conservative estimates put the number of Mozambicans who sought refuge in South Africa at 250 000. This study examines the trauma created by the war, and its psycho-social outcomes, from the perspective of women refugees who came to settle in villages in the Nkomazi region of Mpumalanga province, in South Africa. Posttraumatic stress disorder, the concept which dominates research in the field of trauma studies, was based on research with male war veterans in western industrial societies. Recently a body of work has emerged which questions the validity of applying posttraumatic stress disorder to contexts of massive social conflict, and its utility in cross cultural contexts. This body of work suggests that an understanding of extreme trauma and its outcomes requires careful consideration of the social and cultural dimensions of trauma. The inclusion of a cultural formulation in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorder, DSM-IV, reinforces a growing acknowledgement amongst mental health researchers of the influence of culture on mental health and disorder. The gaps in research on African women survivors of war and the lack of standardised assessment tools, makes this an exploratory study which uses qualitative research methods. Unstructured interviews were conducted with 30 Mozambican women refugees to explore their experiences and definitions of trauma, the psycho-social outcomes of the trauma, and coping and survival in the aftermath of the war. The magnitude of the trauma evident in the research findings called for a conceptual definition which reflects multiple risks and the interdependence of social and individual trauma. Thematic analysis and qualitative coding of the interview data revealed clinically well defined posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and locally specific discourses of suffering framed by cultural beliefs, social practices and historical experiences. Their testimony and observations in the field, revealed that the survivors demonstrated a capacity to survive and reconstruct their lives. Their coping strategies and survival tactics were fundamentally shaped by socio-historical experiences and the limits and possibilities contained in the recovery environment. The results of this study suggest an approach to examining the complex relationship between trauma and its consequences, which abstracts neither trauma nor its victims from cultural and social-historical contexts. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Women and war -- Mozambique en_US
dc.subject Psychic trauma -- Research -- South Africa en_US
dc.subject War -- Psychological aspects en_US
dc.subject Post-traumatic stress disorder -- Research -- South Africa en_US
dc.subject Women refugees -- Mental health en_US
dc.title Violation and healing of the spirit : psycho-social responses to war of Mozambican women refugees en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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