A Study of Selected Ethnic Affiliations in the Development of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Other Psychopathology After a Terrorist Bombing in Nairobi, Kenya

Carol S North, Tatiana Dvorkina, Samuel Thielman, Betty Pfefferbaum, Pushpa Narayanan, David E. Pollio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: Despite the frequency of disasters in Africa, almost nothing is known about ethnic affiliations in relation to psychopathology after such incidents. This study examined the mental health outcomes of members of 7 major ethnic groups exposed to the 1998 terrorist bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Methods: Approximately 8 to 10 months after the disaster, 229 civilian employees, 99 locally engaged staff workers of the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development, and 64 workers of the Kenyan Red Cross Society (total N=392) were assessed with the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition). Additional data were gathered on demographic characteristics, disaster exposures and injuries, and ethnic affiliations. Results: Disaster-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was significantly less prevalent among members of the Kikuyu group (28%) and post-disaster major depression was significantly more prevalent among members of the Meru group (64%), compared with all others in the sample. Preexisting psychopathology and disaster injury were independently associated with bombing-related psychopathology. Conclusions: Further study of disaster-related psychopathology in relation to African ethnic affiliations is needed to better understand these associations and to assist in planning resources and interventions for African disaster survivors. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;page 1 of 6)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalDisaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Sep 19 2017



  • Africa
  • ethnic affiliations
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • psychopathology
  • terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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