Depressive symptomatology among Namibian adolescent refugees

Olive Shisana, David D. Celentano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Symptoms of depression have been considered rare in sub-Saharan populations. Using a standard assessment measure of depressive symptomatology, the Beck Depression Inventory, the prevalence of symptoms of depression was obtained from a group (N = 56) of Namibian refugees residing in a sub-Saharan host country. Contrary to expectations, the rates of self-reported symptoms were quite frequent, with many symptoms reported as moderate or severe by a large proportion of these youths. Using a stress model to explore these data, it was demonstrated that social support ameliorated the effects of chronic stress, as represented by the length of time in exile. It is argued that adaptation, acculturation, and adolescent developmental demands result in self-reports of depressive symptoms. These demands, however, are lessened in intensity by a strong social support system that is especially helpful early in the exile period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1251-1257
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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