Sexual and nonsexual violence and mental health among male refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo residing in Kampala, Uganda : a population-based survey

We conducted a population-based survey in 2013 in Kampala, Uganda, to examine violence and mental health outcomes among self-settled male refugees from the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Male DRC refugees aged 18+ years were sampled through respondent-driven sampling. Key interview domains included demographics, experiences of sexual and nonsexual violence, social support, PTSD, depression and suicide ideation.


Data analysis was weighted to generate population-level estimates. We sampled 718 men (mean age: 33 years), most of whom had lived in North or South Kivu. Nonsexual violence, such as beatings (79.4%) and torture (63.8%), was frequent. A quarter (26.2%) had been raped; 49.9% of rape victims had been raped on multiple occasions, and 75.7% of rape victims had been gang raped. We estimated 52.8% had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); 44.4% reported suicidal ideation. Numerous traumas were significantly (p < 0.05) associated with PTSD such as rape (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.82), war-related injuries (aOR = 2.90) or having been exposed to >15 traumas (compared to ≤10; aOR = 6.89). Traumata are frequent experiences in this self-settled male refugee population and are often accompanied by adverse mental health outcomes.


Screening for trauma and adverse mental health outcomes and providing targeted services are paramount to improve these refugees’ lives.

Wolfgang Hladik, Pamela Nasirumbi Muniina, Itziar Familiar, Peter Kaiser, Moses Ogwal, David Serwadda, Enos Sande, Herbert Kiyingi, Chantal Siya Bahinduka & Chris Dolan | 2023
In: Medicine, Conflict and Survival ; ISSN: 1362-3699
Online ahead of print DOI: 10.1080/13623699.2023.2263730
Adults, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Males, Mental health, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Psychotrauma, PTSD (en), Refugees, Sexual Harassment, Suicidal ideation, Torture, Violence